German health insurance is divided into two tiers: public and private insurance providers. Both offer comprehensive coverage for patients, but they have slightly different requirements when it comes to eligibility. Here are some of the most common factors:
- Income: If a German company employs you, you need to earn over a certain amount each year to apply for private health insurance.
- Plan to stay in Germany: Depending on your future goals, we will recommend either private or public health insurance.
- Family and family planning: Getting your children covered under health insurance is essential — and depending on the size of your family or your plans, it might be better to go with public or private insurance.
- Citizenship: Insurance is different if you’re not from the EU, so it’s important to consider that when deciding.
- Employment status: Are you employed by a German company, or are you a freelancer? This actually can affect your eligibility for some policies.
- Length of time in Germany: Because health insurance is required, it means that you’ll have an insurance history if you’ve been here longer. This history can affect your eligibility.
- Overall health: Pre-existing conditions and some medications can make signing up for private health insurance pretty challenging.
If you’re interested in seeing which of the many policies might be a good fit for you, we’ve created this health recommendation tool to help you explore!
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What to watch out for
Sometimes, it might not be possible for someone to join public or private insurance. This is due to several different eligibility requirements that both private and public healthcare have.
For example, a freelancer from outside of the European Union will most likely not be allowed to join the German public insurance system. If they have a pre-existing condition on top of that, they may not be able to get private insurance. Although it might not be ideal, our advice would be to get a full-time job to join the public insurance system immediately. They can also get temporary expat insurance while searching for a job or trying to get a German residence permit.
It can be a lot of information to keep in the back of your mind if you’re someone who doesn’t spend all their time looking at insurance applications, documents, and processes. We also offer the possibility to book a call with one of our experts to help you determine whether private, public, or expat insurance is the best for you.