German Private Health Insurance
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is a legal requirement in Germany to possess health insurance. Whether that is private health insurance, or public health insurance, all citizens who reside in the country are legally obliged to insure themselves through an accredited insurance company.
How Does Health Insurance Work in Germany?In Germany there are two types of health insurance, provided for by over 100 companies (in German called Krankenkasse). As health insurance is compulsory, you are obliged to take one of these two options (although it is also possible, but not as common to combine the two).
The first is open to all and is referred to as:
Public Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV).
The second option, whose availability depends on your salary and/or employment status, is called:
Private Health Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung, PKV)
So what is the difference?
The first and main difference, is that you can only acquire Private Health Insurance if you earn over 64,350 € per annum (as of 2022, unchanged from 2021) or are self-employed. If you earn less than this you are obligated to take Public Health Insurance. The second major difference is that PKV offers a higher quality of service. For example some of the perks of being privately insured include:
- more extensive medication options
- less people to share a hospital room with in the event of hospital admittance
- some doctors only accept PKV-insured new patients
- often little difference in cost compared to Public Health Insurance
- it can get relatively more expensive as you get older and experience more ailments and declining health
- you need to claim the payments directly from the insurer, which means filling in forms in German usually (although The Eye Newspapers promotes English-speaking-friendly insurers - fill out the form below to find out more)
- dependents are not covered
- some doctors can potentially prescribe you more medication that you might want, as they know your insurance will cover the extra medication costs
Private Health Insurance FAQ
- How much does private health insurance cost in Germany? The cost varies tremendously based on the services you wish to have provided. It is best to go through the options with a health insurance broker, who can then prepare a non-committal quote.
- What is the best private health insurance in Germany? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Different companies cater to different types of people and their circumstances (single, married, children, self-employed, etc), so it is best to research which companies cater to what exactly you wish to gain from your insurance.
- Can anyone get private health insurance in Germany? To qualify, you must fulfil certain requirements, such as minimum salary threshold or obtain self-employment status
- How much do I need to earn to apply for private health insurance? For 2022, the minimum salary is 64,350€ per annum for employees, and no limit for the self-employed
- Are dependents included with my PKV coverage? Not usually
- How do I know I am not paying too much? Check out our PKV cost comparison tool to see how your contributions fare with others in similar circumstances to yourself
- Is private health insurance more expensive than public health insurance? For unmarried healthy people, it is usually cheaper to go with private health insurance, but the situation varies on individual circumstances
- Can I change back to public insurance after being privately insured? Not usually, although it is possible if you lose your job or your circumstances change considerably
- Are there major differences between PKV and GKV? Yes, quite a few. Besides for the premium coverage, for foreigners it is usually easier to find a doctor, as many GP's refuse to take publically-insured patients. Privately-insured patients also have many perks, such as private rooms for hospital stays, more extensive coverage for treatments and a wide variety of other benefits
- Does prviate insurance cover my trips abroad? Both insurance types (private and public) cover vacation treatment abroad, however you will need to check that the country you are visiting is included in their coverage. PKV, relative to GKV, offers the more extensive list of countries where you can receive treatment