After our friends at My Life in Germany wrote about their experience with having a baby in Germany, we’re here to talk about the dirty details when it comes to what insurance does and does not cover!
The Krankenkassen (public health funds) cover all necessary pregnancy care and do not discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. (Yes, pregnancy is unfortunately considered a “pre-existing condition” in health insurance terms…) So if you’re already pregnant and applying for health insurance, this is the option we would generally recommend.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, then public insurance is a great option as well. The Krankenkassen cover your prenatal appointments, as well as delivery room costs and any related hospital stays. They also partially cover exercise and physical therapy options, such as pre-natal yoga and pelvic floor rehabilitation through a wide range of Praeventionskurse (preventive care courses).
After your child is born, you’ll be able to insure them at no extra cost through your public insurer. Parents earning below Є65,000/year do not have to pay for public health insurance during their Elternzeit (maternity or paternity leave), while those earning above that amount have to continue paying around Є160/month.
Depending on where you’re located in Germany, you may have some trouble finding an OB-GYN on the public system. While most OB-GYNs do work with publicly insured patients, big cities like Berlin are dealing with supply problem: there just aren’t enough OB-GYNs to meet the demand of a large population, and many have months-long waiting lists for an initial appointment—particularly if you need a doctor who speaks English fluently. We recommend making an initial appointment for an OB-GYN check-up as soon as possible (preferably before you’re even pregnant) to ensure you’re registered as a patient.
Privately insured patients have the advantage of circumventing these supply-and-demand issues. Many doctors have certain time slots available only to private patients—and some run completely private practices. So if you’re on comprehensive private insurance, you’re likely to find a doctor quickly, even in a big city. Private insurance also covers a wider variety of treatments than public, including a private room for your delivery and hospital stay. So if you’re planning to get pregnant and want to go to a specific doctor or are looking for something very specialized, private insurance may be preferable.
Remember what we said about pregnancy being considered a “pre-existing condition”? Well, that comes into play here. If you’re already pregnant when you apply, then you may have some difficulty getting coverage. For the most part, though, pregnant women can get on private insurance if they are less than 20 weeks pregnant at the time coverage begins.
It should also be noted that private insurance does not cover children for free—so you’ll have to take out a new private insurance policy once your baby is born. (Your employer may also partially cover your child’s policy.) Most private insurers also require you to continue paying your insurance premiums during your maternity or paternity leave—and in this case, you would have to pay your full premium as employers are not required to contribute to the policy during this time.
Everyone’s situation is different and your private coverage during pregnancy depends a lot on specifics. Please book a call with one of our experts to discuss your specific circumstances.
We generally do not recommend expat insurance for pregnancy care. Expat insurance is meant for emergencies or unexpected health issues. While it does cover certain pregnancy costs, you will still likely need to cover many expenses yourself.
For more information on expat insurance during pregnancy, please see our FAQs: