German Health Insurance Simplified (Part II)

by Feather Insurance

New country, new health insurance system! German health insurance can be daunting for new arrivals. In the first part of this guide, we spoke about public health insurance and its advantages and disadvantages. We will now talk about the private health system to help you fully understand the options you have when you move to Germany.

About the Author

Founded in 2018 in Berlin, Feather aims to simplify the world of German insurance, especially for expats. Born out of frustration at the old-school, admin-intensive insurance offerings in Germany, we developed a platform and partnered with the most trusted providers to offer fully digital insurance solutions, in English. Building our brand based on trust and a customer-centric approach, our experts are on call to give honest advice to ensure you get the right coverage to suit your needs when it comes to health, liability, household, or legal insurance.

Private Health Insurance

In Germany, you‘re likely eligible for private health insurance if you earn over €66,000/year (in 2023), you are a freelancer or business owner, you are a civil servant or a foreign student. Many eligible residents do opt for private insurance (Krankenversicherung), but this is an important decision and you need to consider your personal circumstances before deciding if it's the right option for you, now and in the future.

Your private health insurance premium will be calculated on a number of factors, such as your age and quality of health when you apply, as well as the level of coverage you opt for.

These factors, plus whether you have dependents, will determine if private insurance will be cheaper or more expensive than public health insurance. In many cases, if you are young, single, and not planning to retire in Germany, private health insurance is a cheaper and better option. Once you are signed up, your premiums may increase over time, but you will not experience higher premiums because you develop an illness.

Pros of Private Health Insurance

  • Faster doctor appointments — some doctors will only accept appointments from private patients, while others may give preference to privately insured patients.

  • More extensive coverage — private insurance goes the extra mile when it comes to medical treatment and you will be comprehensively covered for most medical conditions that arise and various high-end treatment options that are presented to you.

  • You choose your level of coverage, which will also affect how much you pay each month. If you are young and healthy, private insurance is often much cheaper — you could pay just €175/month for private insurance (€350 total including your employer‘s contribution, or if you are self-employed), whereas your public insurance may be more than double that.

  • Many private insurers have a no-claim bonus, which can save you a lot of money if you are rarely sick and hardly use your insurance.

Cons of Private Health Insurance

  • Deductibles and forfeiting no-claims bonuses mean you pay more the more you use your insurance.

  • It's a little admin-intensive. Unlike public insurance where the medical practitioner bills your insurance provider directly without your involvement, with private insurance you will pay for your treatments and use your invoice to claim from your insurance company. If you sign up for your private health insurance with a company like Feather, they streamline this process and deal with your claims and the insurance provider on your behalf, without any additional costs.

  • It can get expensive when you get older or retire and have a lower income — the younger you make the switch to private insurance the cheaper it will be in the long run. It is also expensive if you have a number of dependents.

  • It can be nearly impossible to switch back to public from private health insurance, so you need to be as sure as possible of your choice. You will be able to switch back to the public healthcare system if your salary drops below €66,000, however, if you are over 55 years old or self-employed (and therefore not Pflichtversichert) it can be nearly impossible to make the switch to public insurance.

  • Private insurance is expensive if you have pre-existing health problems. If you have serious pre-existing health problems, they usually reject you. If they accept you, they can charge a lot more or exclude coverage for your condition.

What Is Covered With Private Health Insurance?

Private health insurance covers everything that public health insurance covers, and more. Whereas public insurances are uniform in terms of what is covered, private health insurances allow you — to a certain extent — to tailor your medical coverage to your needs. You can choose lower monthly premiums with a higher deductible, or add extra services to your coverage, depending on your needs.

Private healthcare patients have more options in terms of the selection of doctors, and quicker access to appointments because many practitioners give preference to privately insured customers.

Paying for Private Health Insurance

When you are an employee of a company, your private health insurance contributions would work similarly to that of public health insurance. In this case, two important things to note:

  1. Your company will pay 50% of your private health insurance premium, up to the maximum contribution for a public health insurance premium.

  2. Instead of the company paying the insurance provider directly and deducting your 50% portion of the premium from your salary, with private insurance you would pay the full premium and your company would reimburse you for their half of the premium at the end of the month.

If you are self-employed, you will pay the full premium yourself (as you would with public health insurance too).

Still Undecided or Need More Guidance?

You can always book a free (and no-obligation) consultation with our insurance partners at Feather, they are on call to walk you through your options (not only regarding health insurance, but other insurances such as legal, personal liability, and household insurance too) and provide full support in English, both in-person and on their website.

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German Health Insurance Simplified (Part I)

Feather Insurance

New country, new health insurance system. German health insurance can be daunting for new arrivals to the country. In this guide, we aim to simplify the German health insurance system and give you all the information you need to help you figure out which is the best health insurance option for you.

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