The UK and EU are set to part ways on December 31st, deal or no deal. And with the end of the Brexit transition period looming, the “leave or remain” question is getting personal for many Brits: “Should I leave the UK and settle in Europe for good?”
There are many factors to consider before uprooting your life and settling down in a new country. And we don’t recommend coming to Germany before putting some thought into how it will affect your family and career—but we know that for many would-be UK expats, this feels like a race against the clock.
Maybe you’ve decided to take the plunge—or maybe you’ve been living in Germany for awhile and just haven’t switched to German insurance yet. In either case, we recommend registering with public insurance as soon as possible.
Don’t know where to start? Our five-step guide makes it easy.
Why public insurance?
Before we take you through the process, we’ll answer a question that might be on your mind: “Why do you recommend public insurance over private?”
Well, we’ve got three main reasons:
- Public insurance provides fantastic coverage at a reasonable cost. Pre-existing conditions? Check. Dependent coverage at no extra cost? Check. Preventive care and cancer screenings? All included! And unless you’re a very high earner, public insurance is likely to be the same price or cheaper than private plans.
- Public insurance is your fast track into the German social security system. When you sign up for public insurance, you’ll also get your social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer, SVNR). This will enable you to start putting away funds for retirement and ensure that you can jump right into full-time employment once you secure a job. (Employers need your SVNR to make salary payments.)
- You can always switch to private later on! Let’s be real here—Feather is a team of insurance fanatics. We are more than happy to talk with you about the benefits of private insurance. But getting on public insurance first grants you the flexibility to consider your life situation and choose the best health insurance for you. You can switch to private insurance at a later point. It can, however, be difficult to switch from private insurance into the public system.
Convinced? Then let’s get you insured!
5 steps to getting insured
- Make sure you’re eligible: If you’re moving from the UK (or moved from the UK recently), then you’re almost certainly covered by the NHS. This means that you’re eligible to switch into the German public insurance system. If you don’t have NHS cover, get in touch with us to discuss your options.
- Start your application: Choose your insurer and start filling out your application. The sooner you get started, the better—it’s best to have your application in the system early in case you need to request additional documents. If you use the (completely free!) Feather English-language platform, we’ll guide you through the process. Tip: You can start your application even if you’re still in the UK! We’ll just have to make sure the insurance start date aligns with your intended move to Germany (before the end of 2020).
- Get proof of coverage: If you’re a freelancer or a job seeker, you’ll need to prove that you’ve been insured by the NHS. Get this proof of coverage from your GP in the UK by using this letter template and sending it (signed and filled) to your contact at Feather or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tip: If you haven’t left the UK yet, handle this step now! It will be much easier before you leave.
- Doublecheck your information: We’ll need to check all your information—coverage dates, proof of coverage, etc.—to ensure your application is approved ASAP. Leave this step to us! We’ll let you know when your application has been submitted.
- Wait for your confirmation: OK, this isn’t really an action step—it’s more of a chance to do something nice for yourself since you don’t have to worry about your health insurance anymore. Why not head to a yoga class? Or at least enjoy a glass of your favorite beverage? Your policy details will be on the way, so check your email for confirmation from your insurer!