Health Insurance in Germany – What you need to Know

Health Insurance

Choosing health insurance provider and plan depends on:

  • income
  • age
  • gender
  • family status (single, married, kids)
  • duration of stay in Germany
  • state of health
  • employment status (employed, unemployed, student, intern, au pair, freelancer)

The two main insurance types are public and private. For young single people, private is cheaper than public. The public health insurance is based on income whereas private health insurance is based on age, gender , state of health and the tariff/cover you want.

Once one picks private insurance, they aren’t allowed to switch to public, this is because the government wants to prevent that people chose private when young and healthy and thus avoid contributing to the more expensive public system but then switch back under the public insurance system’s roof when they find it become more profitable to get public coverage. Anyone making such a decision has to bear in mind future plans and compare both objectively.


For the au pairs:

The employer will choose which health insurance they choose for you, after which you can choose between public and private like the rest.

If an au pair gets pregnant during the au pair year, the costs incurred are paid for by the insurance company. If the au pair got pregnant before the insurance came into effect, they have to pay for all costs incurred.

For the mini jobs, FSJ,BFD,FÖJ

For those with a mini job, doing an FSJ, BFD, FÖJ and are earning less than €450 monthly should pay for the public health insurance. This is done by the employer.

For students:

It applies to language school, Uni, studienkolleg students.

Foreign students in Germany are automatically legible for public health insurance if they are:

  • below 30 years of age or
  • have studied less than 14 Semesters

Students who are older than 29 years of age when they start their studies, automatically have to take up private health insurance

For foreign students younger than 30 and in earlier semesters pays approximately €80. For students older than 30 or above 14th semester, they pay approximately €160.

For students in the public health insurance, spouses and/or children can be insured under them for no extra cost. For those in private insurance, the costs may vary.

For the Self employed/ Freelancers

Regardless of income, you can pick between public and private insurance.

If you choose public health insurance and you earn below the annual limit (€50.850 per annum) you pay 15.5% of your gross annual income to the public insurance.

You can escape the high rates by taking up a mini-job which earns you €450 and pays for your insurances.

For the employed:

The annual limit stands at €50.850 per annum: anyone who earns below that has to be in the public while those that earn anything above that may choose between public and private.

If you earn below the annual limit you pay 7.75% of your gross annual income to the public insurance while the employer pays the remaining 7.75%.

The maximum payable per month is €592.88, while those that earn more than €3825 monthly no longer have to check on the percentages.

A spouse or child(ren) can be insured under you in the public insurance for free only if the spouse and child(ren) don’t earn more than €450 monthly and the child(ren) is/are below 25 years of age.

For those with children

A spouse or child(ren) can be insured under you in the public insurance for free only if the spouse and child(ren) don’t earn more than €450 monthly and the child(ren) is/are below 25 years of age.

For the Single

The child is automatically insured under the mother’s policy, but there is a possibility to change it to the father’s insurance.

For the Married

Case 1 – you are privately insured and earn more than your wife so the children would either be co-insured at extra costs on your wife´s public insurance or require their own private insurance.

Case 2- your wife earns more than you so the children can either be co-insured for free in her public insurance or choose private insurance ( costing)

Case 3 – you earn exactly the same as your wife: same as in Case 2!!

It’s possible in cases where both parents are high earners and have two children that both parents could be private and both children could be public at the same time.

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