In Germany, you must take out health insurance as an employee. Health insurance is compulsory here. A distinction is made between statutory and private health insurance. These are two different systems and you cannot switch between them freely.
Most employees in Germany have statutory health insurance. As a person with statutory health insurance, you can choose the health insurance provider that best suits you from a wide range of insurances. Here is where you can find a list of all statutory health insurance providers. Your partner and your children also enjoy insurance cover: If, for example, your spouse does not work, you can include him or her in the statutory health insurance. This does not incur any additional costs for you. The same applies to your children.
Above a certain salary, you can opt for private health insurance. This limit for the salary is called the compulsory insurance limit. You can find the current amount on the official website of the Federal Government.
Health insurance benefits
If you fall ill, you are in good hands in Germany. The health insurance provider covers the costs of all urgently needed medical treatment. The basic insurance cover provided by the statutory health insurance providers extends to the following services:
- outpatient medical treatment, for example, in doctors' surgerie
- dental care
- medication, health remedies or medical aids
- in-patient medical treatment, for example in a hospital
- medically necessary rehabilitation measures
- benefits during pregnancy and childbirth
By the way: When you take out health insurance, you are automatically covered by long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance covers you if, for example, you are no longer able to look after yourself due to a serious illness – in other words, if you need help from a carer.
Health insurance without an employer
You are not employed by an employer? You still need health insurance! Now it depends on which group you belong to:
- Family: Children, spouses and registered life partners can usually be insured collectively through family insurance with one adult being in the statutory health insurance.
- Trainees, students and interns: Generally you have to take out statutory health insurance. There are some exceptions, e.g. for students over the age of 30.
- Job seekers: EU citizens can use their European health card. People without EU or EEA citizenship who are not in employment, for example because they have a visa to look for work, must take out private health insurance. There are special rates for expats in this case.
The website of the Federal Ministry of Health has a complete list of all compulsorily insured persons as well as the number of a citizens' hotline for advice.
What is the health card (eGK) / European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
If you are a member of a statutory health insurance scheme, you will receive your electronic health card, a kind of health insurance membership card. You bring the card with you to every doctor's appointment. It is also valid in all EU countries as well as in Great Britain, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. This means that if you fall ill in these countries during a holiday or a business trip, you will get access to medical care locally with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You don't have to apply for the EHIC. It is automatically printed on the back of your insurance card. It is advisable to find out about the procedure in an emergency from your health insurance company in good time, before travelling abroad to other countries.
National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds