All About Health Insurance in Germany
How to choose between public and private health insurance? How much do they cost? Can you switch easily between the two? What are your options if you are a self-employed or freelancer?
Germany is well known worldwide for having one of the best and most comprehensive health care system which successfully provides health and sickness pay insurance coverage. The health care system is financed by the public and private health insurance. In fact, health insurance at least for hospital and out-patient medical treatment became mandatory for all German citizens since the reforms made in 2007. In addition, since 2009 everyone who wants to register and become a German resident is obliged to provide proof of their medical insurance. German citizens and residents can choose if they want to be insured with the public or private insurance, although there are some exceptions. There are approximately 83 million people residing in Germany and are using health care services that are provided through 150,000 doctors and 28,000 physiotherapists who offer outpatient care together with about 1,900 hospitals and 19,500 pharmacies according to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Public Health Insurance
As mentioned above, there are two types of health insurance in Germany: public and and private. The public health insurance is also known as statutory or Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung in German. The public health insurance system has a long history in German and has its introduction back in the 19th century. Back then, medical insurance was meant to cover only to industrial workers. Today, the German public health insurance covers 90 percent of the residents.
The public health insurance is built upon a principle of solidarity and accepts everyone regardless their age, income or medical conditions. Everyone who is insured with the statutory insurance pays the costs of medical treatment of other insurance participants. In other words, those who work cover medical expenses of those who are sick. And because the premium cost of the public health insurance in Germany depends only on the individual’s income, hence, residents with high income pay high insurance contributions. In 2020, if an employee earns less than the threshold of 62,550.00 euros per year or 5,212.50 euros per month, he or she is obliged to be insured by the statutory health insurance. In this case, 14.6 percent is deducted monthly from the employee’s salary as health insurance contribution and half of the amount is paid by the employer.
The statutory health insurance in Germany stands to protect the work disabled, people with low or no income at all. After all, it is based on the solidarity principle. To support individuals with low income, public insurance will additionally cover their children and non-working spouses at no extra costs.
In Germany, in case an employee gets seriously sick, the employer will continue paying full salary for six weeks. Should the illness persist, a German resident will receive 70 percent of his or her gross salary as monthly allowance by the respective health insurance fund.
Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance or Private Krankenversicherung is voluntary and may only be obtained as a substitute to the public health insurance in Germany under the condition that an employee’s salary is higher than the aforementioned level (62,550.00 euros per year or 5,212.50 euros per month). Unlike public insurance, the premium price of the private health insurance in Germany primarily depends on person’s health condition, the age when insurance is being acquired and the desired level of coverage. Just like in
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