Germany is strict about all Germans, residents or not, having health insurance. The German administrationHealth Insurance decrees every individual to take out health insurance to cover their healthcare expenses.
Understandably, since the state puts a lot of emphasis on health insurance, you can get different security plans to manage your medical expenses. That said, there are primarily two types of health insurance in Germany.
- Public or State Health Insurance, aka Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (GKV) in the German language.
- Private Health Insurance
Public Health Insurance
Public health insurance provider services are run by non-profit organizations in the country. However, they are not state-owned.
A public health insurance plan is a compulsory financial security policy for people earning less than 64350€ a year. But that doesn’t mean others making more than the said amount cannot opt for public health insurance. Anyone can take out public health insurance if they want, but employees with an annual salary of less than 64350€ don’t have the liberty to choose between public or private health insurance.
Public health security offers limited coverage for the most basic medical needs and matches the insured’s income.
Private Health Insurance
As the name suggests, private health insurance is a voluntarily acquired policy based on a person’s health. The insurer can decide how much coverage they want and pay the premium accordingly.
Unlike public health insurance, private health insurance can have significant gaps between the cost and benefit of the policy.
While the mentioned policy types are the most common in Germany, another worthy insurance program for expats also exists; Expat Health Insurance.
Expat Health Insurance
If you are an expat working in Germany, you need to get insured for your healthcare needs. There are two ways for you to do that.
- Expat Public Health Insurance
- Expat Private Health Insurance
Expat Public Health Insurance
Like regular public health insurance, expat state health insurance is for those expats who earn less than 59400€ per annum. If you make less than the cited amount, you are legally obligated to enrol in an expat public health insurance program. But, of course, you can choose to stick to this form of expatriate health insurance even if you can afford private insurance.
Generally, it is advisable to go for a private health security policy for better and much more extensive coverage. However, many expats take the other route and settle for a public program, which only covers a handful of healthcare needs, including
- Maternal care
- Outpatient healthcare services
- Inpatient care to the extent of public wards only
- Dental care
- Sick notes for employees
As evident from the list of benefits stated above, expat public health insurance is not sufficient to take care of any advanced medical care needs, such as surgery. Therefore expatriates should take out private health securities for an unfortunate day ahead. In case you get into an accident and require thoracotomy, laparotomy, or any other similar procedure, you will not be able to pay for it with public health insurance.
Expat Private Health Insurance
Aside from the scenario mentioned above, an expat is free to choose private expat health insurance. Whether you are a student, a foreigner working in Germany, or a researcher, you can take out a private policy suited to your needs.
Expat GKV doesn’t cover costs for eye treatments, tumour resection, or any other advanced form of medical care, which can become a problem for you if you develop a complex illness. You will have to pay the crippling medical bills with your money and possibly become insolvent along the way. Therefore, choosing an expat private health insurance plan is a wise move.
Choosing the Right Expatriate Health Insurance
Although we have given the verdict on choosing an expat health security, it is essential to compare the two choices side by side so that you can make an informed choice.
|Expat Public Health Insurance||Expat Private Health Insurance|
|Compulsory for foreigners earning an annual income of 59400€||Optional for all expats except those making less than 59400€ in a year|
|Minimal medical coverage- it only takes care of basic healthcare needs.||As much coverage as the insured wants, depending on the option and provider they choose.|
|Not suitable for people with complex medical conditions, such as cancer||Suitable for people with complicated medical conditions|
The comparison table above is enough to tip the scale in favour of expat private health insurance. However, some people may still be double-minded about the choice because of the premium payment. But you don’t have to worry about that if you are employed in Germany. Why?
According to German law, employers are bound to pay half of their employees’ health insurance premium, which is valid even for expats working in the country. Therefore, you shouldn’t be concerned about paying for private health security because your employer will bear half of it.
Yes, expat private health insurance is worth it. Having such a comprehensive program will keep you safe from losing money should you need any elaborate medical treatments, not to mention peace of mind.
If you want to get a policy or need more information, reach out to us at MW Expat and let us answer all your insurance-related queries.