Healthcare and insurance
Everyone experiences setbacks every now and then. People fall ill, have accidents, lose their jobs. Luckily, you are always on the safe side in FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM). Germany has an excellent healthcare and social insurance system that offers comprehensive protection through all of life’s ups and downs.
The German healthcare and social insurance system is based on the principle of solidarity. Every insured citizen contributes to the social insurance fund, and all citizens get to benefit from its services.
The social insurance system consists of five components:
1. Health insurance
2. Nursing care insurance
3. Pension insurance
4. Accident insurance
5. Unemployment insurance
Contributions are paid monthly. As an employee, you are automatically covered in all five fields of social insurance. Employees usually do not have to make their own insurance arrangements. You only need to choose your own health insurance fund.
Your employer pays your contributions directly from your salary. The sum paid depends on your gross income. The contribution is split between the employer and the employee: you do not cover the entire fee by yourself.
Health insurance is mandatory in Germany. This also means that the public health insurance funds are obliged to insure you. You can freely choose a health insurance fund. The different funds provide different services, so make sure to compare their offers before joining one of them.
Statutory health insurance normally covers medical, dental and psychotherapeutic treatment, early diagnosis and prevention. Patient care, rehabilitation measures and some medicines are also included. Approximately 90% of Germans are covered by a public health insurance fund.
There are also private health insurance companies. They are normally only accessible to people in certain occupation or with a certain income. This mainly includes public officials, the self-employed and all employees earning more than EUR 60,750 per year.
If you have private health insurance, you receive priority treatment from your GP and at hospitals, meaning that you rarely need to wait. Private health insurance companies are not obliged to insure everyone who applies, however. Applicants can be rejected on account of existing health conditions or advanced age. Monthly contributions vary from person to person. They are determined on the basis of your own risk, the state of your health and your age at the time of insurance. Young, healthy people pay lower contributions.
Health insurance for foreigners
Everyone in Germany must have health insurance, including foreigners. If you already have employment, you are entitled to statutory health insurance as per German law.
If you are still looking for work as an EU citizen in Germany, you can still be insured by a public health insurance fund. If you are a non-EU citizen and looking for work, you will need to take out private health insurance.
Please refer to the independent information website krankenkassen.de for information about the health insurance systems and the health insurance funds in Germany.
Long-term nursing care insurance
At some point in the future, you might need long-term care. If this becomes a reality, you will probably require a range of supportive measures that can be very costly. Long-term nursing care insurance ensures that you get the support you need when you need it. It is offered by the public health insurance funds as a supplementary service on top of your health insurance. Anyone who is insured by a health insurance fund automatically has long-term nursing care insurance. You do not need to submit a separate application.
The statutory pension insurance scheme secures your pension provision. Once you retire from work, you will receive a monthly pension payment.
You can claim your pension in retirement or in the case of certain other circumstances. If your health prevents you from working or the breadwinner of your family passes away, you receive a statutory pension.
This pension is paid on an individual basis. The amount of your monthly payment depends on how much you contributed to the pension insurance fund and for how long. It is strongly recommended that you arrange for private retirement provision in addition to the statutory pension insurance scheme.
Accident insurance provides financial support in case of accidents at work. It also helps with expenses incurred as a result of accidents that take place on your way to work or during your vocational training. Occupational illness is also covered. Accident insurance is fully funded by employers.
If you lose your job, your unemployment insurance will help out. Its main service is the payment of unemployment benefit. Depending on how long you contributed to the insurance, you can receive unemployment benefit for up to two years to cover your livelihood. This gives you time to find a job.
Other types of insurance
In addition to the mandatory insurance schemes detailed above, there are several types of voluntary insurance. They cover different aspects of your life, and you are free to sign up privately. To find out which insurance schemes are useful to you, please consult a consumer advice centre (“Verbraucherberatung”) or a private insurance company. Consumer advice centres are independent. They are the best points of contact for an initial consultation.
The most important additional insurance schemes include personal liability insurance and household insurance.
The former pays damages if you accidentally damage someone else’s property, e.g. in case of an accident in someone’s home. Your personal liability insurance ensures that you do not need to cover claims for damages out of your own pocket.
Household insurance covers damage to your own household in case of e.g. break-ins, burst water pipes or fire.