The topic health insurance in Germany is very big and in some parts confusing. There are so many rules that it is not always easy for foreign people to get an insight in the system and those wanting to find the cheapest insurance, that still offers necessary and good protection have a hard job sometimes. Furthermore, there are some new rules, like the gender neutral tariff that cause even more confusion.
1. Getting into the basics of the system
It may sound insignificant but especially for young people, who need to think about insurance for the first time, or also for older ones, who haven’t been interested at all in this topic and also for foreign persons who know a totally different system in their country, this step is very important. You should know the main differences between the compulsory and the private insurance and you should also know what prerequisites are necessary for the private insurance. It is furthermore important to know the solidary principle in German insurance system and to know that insurance is obligatory in Germany. With this basic knowledge it is much easier to see the differences in the insurance types and to see why some rules exist.
2. Analyzing the own situation
Depending on the status of your education, the type of your work, your age and health status and your citizenship the insurance you need can be very different. The next step is therefore to think about your special situation and what insurance offer can be relevant. For example there are cheap offers for students or you need to consider limitations. It can also be important to know that pre-injuries or the type of work can influence the insurance. If being a foreign worker it is possible to get insurance from your employer and if being self-employed the private insurance offers some advantages. If having many pre-injuries, this can affect the monthly fee of the private insurance.
3. Comparing the different insurance tariffs
If you know what kind of insurance would be best for you, you should compare specific tariffs. This gives you a detailed list of Pros and Cons for the different offers and you can choose the better one. On the internet there can be found numerous insurance calculators, you just need to feed it with relevant information and it gives you different insurance offers and compares them. With the comparison of insurance you can save a lot of money because there are a lot of differences between the providers. But careful! Please do not only choose the cheapest insurance but also consider that the benefits are the most important part of the insurance. It should however give a solid and broad protection.
4. Getting help
There is no need to make debts just to be able to pay the insurance and it is also not necessary to become desperate because of all the information. The system of the compulsory health insurance instructs that the employer pays part of the insurance costs and there is help or cheaper offers for students and persons out of work. If you want to go abroad during your studies or coming to Germany as foreign student you can count on financial help from boundaries and from the university.
If you get stuck up in the search for the suitable insurance or wish to change your existing contract (for example to the gender neutral tariff) you can always ask for advice at the insurance company.
5. What to do in case of emergency?
If you are on a trip abroad or as foreigner on a trip in Germany you should always keep the emergency number of the insurance with you. If there was an accident and you are in hospital you can call this number and get help and advice.
Even if there is no emergency and you just need normal medical treatment you can get advice from the insurance what doctors in the area are good or if there are negative reports.
6. Compulsory or private insurance?
Those having the choice between private and compulsory insurance need to check the Pros and Cons for their own situation, there is no golden rule for this decision. It depends on how much money you have available and what benefits you want to have.
An advice for women: With the new gender neutral tariff the fees for private insurance for women are now cheaper. This can be an argument for a change to the private insurance.