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German health insurance is broadly delivered through a two-tiered system of public and private insurance providers. The public and private systems provide comprehensive coverage for patients, though they have slightly different sets of eligibility requirements based on things like:

  • Income: If you’re employed by a German company, you need to earn over a certain amount each year to be able to choose private insurance.
  • Plans to stay in Germany: Whether you plan to stay in Germany through retirement or not makes a difference in what we will recommend.
  • Family/family plans: Getting your children covered is important—and depending on the size of your family or your future plans, we will make different recommendations.
  • Citizenship: Whether or not you’re from the EU can make a difference in eligibility.
  • Employment status: Are you employed by a German company or a freelancer? This can affect your eligibility for certain policies.
  • Length of time in Germany so far and previous insurance history: this will determine if you’re eligible for private insurance.
  • Health status: Certain pre-existing conditions may make it difficult to sign up for private health insurance.

Want to learn more? Take our self-assessment now.

In certain cases, an insurance seeker may find themselves unable to join either the public or the private system. For example, a freelancer from outside the European Union is unlikely to be able to join the German public insurance system; and if they have a pre-existing condition, they may be unable to get private health insurance. In a case like this, we would usually advise that the insurance seeker find a full-time job, which would allow them to join the public system immediately. But expat health insurance can provide necessary (temporary) coverage while they are on the job hunt or trying to get a German residence permit.

Our health insurance tool will help you determine what type of insurance makes the most sense for you. These questions will prompt you to think about your lifestyle and goals to determine whether a public, private, or expat health insurance policy is best.