Healthcare and Insurance
Everyone has experienced setbacks, falling ill, having an accident, losing your job. Therefore, it is good to know that you are also well looked after in the FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM) region. Germany has an excellent healthcare and social security system offering comprehensive protection for all eventualities.
The German healthcare and social security system is based on the principle of solidarity. This means that everyone who is insured pays a social security contribution to the equal benefit of everyone.
The social security system has five components:
1. Health insurance
2. Nursing care insurance
3. Pension scheme
4. Accident insurance
5. Unemployment insurance
Contributions are paid monthly. As an employee, you are automatically covered in all five areas of social security. Generally, employees do not have to sort out their own insurance. You only have to choose your own health insurance provider.
Contributions are paid directly from your salary by your employer, the sum depending on your gross income. The contribution is split between the employer and employee, so you do not have to pay it on your own.
Health insurance is mandatory in Germany. This also means that the public health insurance providers are obliged to insure you. You are free to choose your health insurance provider. However, each company offers different services, so make sure to compare the options before joining one of them.
Normally public health insurance will cover treatment from doctors, dentists and psychotherapists, as well as early diagnosis and preventative care. Nursing care, rehabilitation measures and some medicine are also included. Approximately 90% of Germans are covered by public health insurance.
However, there are also private health insurance providers. They are normally only accessible to people in certain occupations or above a certain income. This includes civil servants, 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 doctors and hospitals, and you rarely have to wait. However, private health insurance providers are not obliged to insure everyone who applies. Applicants may be rejected on account of existing health conditions or age. Monthly contributions vary from person to person and depend on your own risk factor, the state of your health and your age when you join. The younger and healthier, the less you pay.
Health Insurance for Foreigners
As a foreigner in Germany, you must have health insurance. If you already have a job, then you are entitled to health insurance under German law and can join a state health insurance provider.
If you are an EU citizen in Germany and still looking for work, you can still take out health insurance without any problems. However, if you are not from an EU country and are looking for work, you will have to take out private health insurance.
You will find a lot of information about the health insurance system and health insurance providers in Germany on the independent information portal krankenkassen.de.
Nursing Care Insurance
Everyone may need nursing care at some point. In this case, you will probably require a range of treatment that can be very costly. Nursing care insurance ensures that you get the relevant support when you need it. This is supplementary to your health insurance and is offered by the public health insurance providers. In general, most people take out nursing care insurance with their health insurance provider. You do not need to submit a separate application.
The state pension scheme safeguards your old-age pension. This means that once you retire, you will receive a monthly pension.
You are not just entitled to the pension when you retire, but also under specific circumstances. If your health prevents you from working or the breadwinner of your family passes away, you will receive a state pension.
This pension is paid on an individual basis and the amount depends on how much you contributed and for how long. It is strongly recommended that you take out a private pension to supplement the state pension.
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 kicks in. The most important part of this is unemployment benefit. Depending on how long you contributed to the system, you can receive unemployment benefit for up to two years to keep you going. This gives you time to look for a job.
Other Types of Insurance
In addition to the mandatory insurance schemes detailed above, there are several types of voluntary insurance covering different areas, which you can take out privately. You can find information on which insurance policies are of benefit to you at a Consumer Advice Centre (Verbraucherberatung) or a private insurers’ bureau. As Consumer Advice Centres are independent, they are the best points of contact for initial advice.
The most important additional insurance policies include personal liability insurance and household insurance.
Personal liability insurance covers damages if you accidentally cause damage to someone else’s property, e.g. in case of an accident in someone’s home. Your personal liability insurance prevents you having to cover claims for damages out of your own pocket.
Household insurance covers damage to your own household in case of e.g. theft, burst water pipes or fire.