It Pays to Be Healthy: How to Use Your Health Insurance Bonus Program
woman running road race

It Pays to Be Healthy: How to Use Your Health Insurance Bonus Program

Summary:

Public insurers in Germany offer rewards in exchange for healthy living. Learn how to make use of your insurer’s bonus program.

Have you gone to the gym recently? Or had a dental exam? How about a routine checkup? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you may already have missed out on some important cash bonuses. 

That’s right: your insurer will actually pay you to take care of your health. 

How do bonus programs work?

Insurance bonus programs reward you for taking steps to be healthy. Just about every Krankenkasse (public health fund) has a bonus program. And while each Krankenkasse has its own system, the concept is always similar: by doing “healthy” activities, you collect points, which can eventually be redeemed for cash, services, or some other kind of reward. 

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How do I collect points?

Most Krankenkassen offer a wide variety of ways to collect bonus points. You will have to keep track of your completion of these activities, either online or manually with the use of a “Bonus Book” (Bonusheft). These may include:

  • Joining or being a member of a sports club or gym: Send in proof of your membership (e.g. a photo of your member card or a copy of a recent bill) to get points added to your bonus balance.
  • Taking part in sports events (e.g. a 10k road race): Show proof of your registration or participation to gain points.
  • Preventive care, including cancer screenings and checkups: Even though these appointments are covered by the Krankenkasse, they aren’t automatically added to your balance—you will have to make sure you record them to make them count.
  • Antenatal care
  • Dental check-ups 
  • Taking part in Krankenkasse-approved courses on healthy living: You can find a list and descriptions of these courses on your Krankenkasse website. Courses may include yoga, pilates, back pain management, pelvic floor training, and swimming classes. 

What can I do with my points?

Each Krankenkasse handles points rewards a bit differently. TK, for example, gives the choice between a cash payout or a health dividend once you reach 1,000 points in their system. At the 1,000-point mark, the cash payout is €30, but the health divided (e.g. money to go towards new glasses or a dental cleaning) is twice as high, at €60. 

AOK and DAK simply offer a cash reward, while BARMER offers several options: you can exchange your points for cash; use them towards a health service; use them to buy a selection of items online; or exchange them for a charity donation

And even if your insurer isn’t one of those mentioned above, chances are that they still have a bonus program. Get in touch with them to ensure your healthy-living efforts are rewarded in kind.

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