When Falling Ill Becomes Illegal – Living in Germany with no Health Insurance

Health Insurance
Since 2009, the German law stipulates that everyone living in Germany should have a medical insurance. In the ideal case everyone would but the reality is quite another story.

There are 2 kinds of insurance, public and private. Every individual has a right to choose between the public and the private insurance, unfortunately as they say “choices have consequences” (did you see what I did there?….like a Boss), if you move from the public insurance to a private one, you’re never allowed to switch back to the public insurance.

So how does one become insurance-less when the law stipulates that you have insurance? Here are a few cases:

  • If at one point you become a freelancer or self employed and you decide to switch to a private insurance, when your fate changes and you have no money to pay for the private insurance, then you loose the insurance.
  • Even when you have a public health insurance, it is possible to „disappear from the system“ and end up having no insurance. Like the man in the video who thought he was insured under his Renteversicherung (Pension scheme) only to receive a bill when the insurance company refused to pay and later he was sued for fraud.
  • After a divorce, women who were insured “under” their husband in the Familienversicherung have to join a private insurance but if they can’t afford it, they end up without any insurance. Like the lady in the video, one can register at the Arbeitsamt as unemployed and be insured by them but if you don’t do it on time you end up with no insurance.
  • For foreigners who might overstayed or whose visas weren’t extended and they become illegal inhabitants of this country, then they loose their insurance cover because in Germany, with no valid visa (which they ask for regularly), no company will offer you a contract.


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  1. Where to get Medical Care when you have No Health Insurance | Mkenya Ujerumani
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