Health insurance in Germany

Are you going to stay in Germany? Your personal situation will determine whether or not you are insured for healthcare costs.

We put together this information with great care. However, the rules are complicated and are subject to change. We cannot, therefore, guarantee that this information is correct and complete. We always advise to enquire about the rules which apply in your situation.

For more information, please take a look at the website of the German Department of Health (in German) and the joint health insurers (in German).

How is healthcare organised in Germany?

In Germany there is difference between public health insurance ((gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and private health insurance (private Krankenversicherung).

Most Germans are insured via the public health insurance scheme. The level of premium (up to a maximum) depends on the person’s income. The insurance is taken out with one of the many health insurance funds (Krankenkassen), which the insured person may choose themselves.

Employees with a high income and self-employed persons may choose between public health insurance or private insurance. The premiums for private insurance depend on the health and age of the insured person. Once you have chosen private insurance, there are restrictions on switching over to public health insurance.

Since 2009, private health insurers in Germany have been obliged to accept everyone in the so-called ‘basic tariff’. The cover is comparable to public health insurance. The premium depends on age. The basic tariff is an emergency measure for those who would not otherwise be able to take out private health insurance due to a serious existing ailment or complaint.

Some patients have public health insurance as well as supplementary insurance with a private insurer. 

Are foreigners eligible for German health insurance?

Everyone living in Germany must have health insurance. This also applies to foreigners coming to live in Germany. If you are employed, your income will determine whether you have to take out public health insurance or whether you can also choose to take out private insurance. If you are self-employed, you can always choose, regardless of how high your income is. You will have to take out public health insurance in all other instances.

If you are receiving a pension (AOW) or benefit in the Netherlands and you live in Germany, please contact the Zorginstituut Nederland (in Dutch).

Are you only going to stay in Germany temporarily, for example on holiday? Then a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you the right to receive necessary medical care in Germany according to the rules and tariffs which apply there. You can apply to EHIC for this card, or your Dutch health insurer. It could still be sensible, however, to take out travel insurance with medical cover.

How can I apply for health insurance in Germany?

If you have to take out public health insurance, you can register with a Krankenkasse of your choice. They will collect the premiums and organise the health insurance. In practise, the premiums and service may differ slightly between companies. For more information, see a list of all Krankenkassen (in German).

Which costs does the public health insurance in Germany cover?

The public health insurance covers at least the following:

  • general practitioner
  • treatments by a medical specialist
  • hospitalisation and treatment in a public hospital
  • medicines
  • dental treatment (limited)

What should I look out for?

Healthcare in Germany is generally of a very high quality and there are no long waiting lists. On the other hand, the costs for medical care are often higher than in the Netherlands. It is also sensible to take the following into account:

  • For public health insurance a personal contribution applies for hospitalisation and for nearly every treatment or medicine.
  • The following are excluded from public health insurance:
    • treatments by a private healthcare provider
    • better facilities (such as a single room) in a public hospital
    • alternative health care
    • most dental care
    • glasses and contact lenses for adults
    • medical expenses outside the EU/EEA
    • return to Germany or evacuation due to illness or accident abroad
  • Private insurance with a German insurer offers more cover options than the public health insurance and you usually do not pay a personal contribution, but the premiums are high.

What does Dutch national health insurance cover?

Your personal situation will determine whether or not you have to remain insured with Dutch national health insurance during your stay abroad

Dutch national health insurance refunds emergency care worldwide. However, you will never be refunded more than the treatment would cost in the Netherlands. You may, therefore, have to pay extra if you are staying in a country where medical care is expensive, such as Germany.

Repatriation (return to the Netherlands) due to illness or an accident is not covered by Dutch national health insurance.

What solution does OOM Verzekeringen offer?

OOM Verzekeringen specialises in medical insurance for a longer stay abroad. Our insurance is meant for those who are no longer eligible for Dutch national health insurance. They can also be a supplement for costs which are not covered by Dutch national health insurance or the mandatory health insurance in Germany.

We offer:

  • a range of cover levels
  • flexible duration
  • 24/7 access to the Dutch-language emergency centre
  • an attractive discount if you also have Dutch national health insurance
  • extra cover, for example for household contents, liability and accidents

Do you need more information?

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be pleased to help in any way we can!

Last revised: 11-10-2016