Survival Guides

Living in Germany and finding a health insurance

In Germany, health insurance coverage is obligatory for everyone, This means that you have to search for an adequate health insurance coverage immediately.


Of course, many people arrive in Germany with an insurance they bought in their home country. Frequently, it is even a central requirement for getting a visa. However, there are many other people from within the European Union that are not in need for a visa, but need to find the adequate health insurance. After a longer period of time, one usually changes (or has to change) from her/his foreign insurance to a German insurance.

There are a huge number of public health insurance companies. What happens frequently is that the employing company automatically helps and registers the new employee at a health insurance. The public health insurance policies are very similar and they have almost identical prices for almost identical services. As a regular employee, one pays around 9% from the monthly salary for health insurance, the other part is paid from the employer.

Private health insurance companies have different prices, are usually more expensive, tailored according to the buyer, and provide a different range of services as well.

As a freelancer, one has to pay the full amount of approximately 17 to 18% of your income for health insurance. If you run your own business and/or are a freelancer, you can get a private health insurance. However, it is a complex and tedious bureaucratic process to switch between public and private health insurance and sometimes might not be so easily possible.

In case you lose your job and are unemployed, you are by law obliged to register as unemployed at the German federal work agency, the “Bundesagentur für Arbeit”. You have three days to register. Usually, the state will then cover your health insurance expenses.

Furthermore, in the German health system, people usually go first to what they call their “Hausarzt”. This means you go always to the same physician, most likely one close to your home. If you are more seriously ill, your Hausarzt will send you to a specialist, like a dermatologist, an internist, or whatever else, giving you an “Überweisung”. We recommend you to search a good Hausarzt, too. However, it is important to know that of course, people are free to choose to go to the medical doctor they want.

Having a Hausarzt makes things easier. It is important because the Hausarzt can have your health record, in case you need the specialist.

Of course there is no charge for the medical appointment, it is already covered by your medical insurance.

We can easily conclude that, if you live in Germany, you will find an easy health insurance coverage and will most likely be satisfied.