When moving to a new country, “living through a pandemic” isn’t usually among the potential stumbling blocks that come to mind. But the spread of the novel coronavirus and its resulting illness, COVID-19, has put a wrench in many of the best-laid travel plans.
New international hires at German companies are postponing their moves; digital nomads are sheltering in place; and the shutdown of schools and universities around the world means that thousands of students are putting their study abroad plans on hold.
If you haven’t moved yet, then it’s almost certainly best to stay where you are and take proper precautions. But if you moved to Germany just before the COVID-19 crisis kicked off, you’re probably wondering exactly how to move forward—particularly if you don’t yet have health insurance. And with EU borders closing and flights from Germany to many other countries being cancelled, you may even be stuck here for a bit.
Sound familiar? Then this post is for you.
How do I get covered?
Germany has a two-tiered system of public and private insurance, which we explain in detail in this post. If you’ve moved here for full-time employment, then you’ll have to sign up for either a Krankenkasse (public health fund) or private insurance before your start date. Being insured is required by German law, so there’s no way around it. Both of these options provide full coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment (provided you haven’t had prior infection or previous complications, in the case of private insurance).
If you need help signing up for a public health fund, we can start your application in just a few minutes—no German required!
To get covered as quickly as possible, we highly recommend you go the public route. (Private sign-ups can take longer for a variety of reasons.)
But what if I’m self-employed?
If you’re a self-employed person from the EU, then getting on the German public system is simple. You just need to provide proof of your previous health coverage in an EU country. This can be done with an E-104 form for most EU citizens. (If you’ve moved from the UK, your process is slightly different.)
If you’re not from the EU, though, things are a bit more complicated. Generally, you will not be able to register for public insurance as a freelancer. In this case, you have two options:
- Sign up for private insurance.
- Sign up for an expat health insurance plan.
Private sign-ups can take quite some time and often require that you undergo a health check with a doctor—something that may be difficult to achieve in the currently overburdened health system. For quick coverage, we recommend signing up for an expat health insurance plan for now.
Expat health insurance
Our expat health insurance plan has you covered for your first months (or even years) in Germany. To be clear: it mainly provides emergency coverage, so regular check-ups, preventive care, and most specialist visits are not typically covered under this plan.
And as long as you sign up within 31 days of arriving in Germany, our expat health plan covers COVID-19 testing and treatment (if considered “medically necessary”, per a doctor’s orders) with no waiting period. If you missed the 31-day window, then you’ll have to wait 31 days before filing any claims. (But if you’re planning on sticking around in Germany, you’ll need health insurance for legal reasons anyway—so it’s still worth getting covered.) You can learn more about COVID-19 coverage in our FAQ.
And another bonus? There’s no minimum contract period, so you can cancel your expat health insurance plan at any time (e.g. if you leave Germany or get insurance through an employer).
Sound like a good fit? You can get registered in a matter of minutes for as little as €72 per month.
Still need advice? Our experts are happy to answer your questions and help you find a plan that fits your needs. Get started now.