Health Insurance in Germany
Germany has its own unique health insurance norms and regulations. Most of Germans possess health insurance in some form or the other. It is not only a need but it is also law to have insurance especially in case of health insurance. Only 0.3% or about 250,000 people in Germany are not insured. A handful of these non-insured people are extremely rich that they do not need insurance but most of these uninsured people are poor and actually cannot afford it.
Insurance Scenario in Germany
Health Insurance or "Krankenversicherung" is mandatory in Germany. Primarily, Germany has statutory health insurance but also offers private health insurance programs.
German statutory insurance sector is funded by nearly 241 insurance companies. Government has subsidized the national health insurance program. The employer is required to pay half of your premium and the other half is deducted monthly from the salary. If you have received an employment in Germany, then your contract would automatically cover your insurance. The employer needs to complete all the formalities on your behalf. In many cases, if you need a resident permit, you would need to show your insurance cover by the company.
Statutory Health Insurance
In Germany, more than 80% of the people are covered under the national health insurance system or called "Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (GKV)". This can be done in three ways.
Usually you are an employee with a monthly income less than 3975 Euros. Because this is the limit you can only elect to be covered under the "GKV". If you earn more than the stipulated income level or if you are self-employed or if you are a civil servant, then you are eligble to apply for private health insurance e.g. "PKV".
The third case is, if you are dependant on someone covered under the national health insurance. After 1995, Germany has made it mandatory to be covered under the nursing care plan which covers costs for old age, disability or in-patient care at any nursing home. It also covers any additional expenses like wheelchair or special bed, etc.
Private Health Insurance
The other option is Private health insurance or the "Private Krankenversicherung (PKV)". Private insurance offers tailor made plans to suit your needs and if you elect to opt for private insurance and have income more than 3975 Euros, you can still expect your employer to pay half the premium for your insurance. The premiums in such case can be lowered if you opt to pay small expenditures yourself. Morever, if you do not put any claim within a year, five annual premiums are refunded to you.
If your monthly income does not exceed the the limit, you can choose if an addional insurance, so called "private Zusatzversicherung" will fit in your circumstances.
The big difference between the national health insurance plan and private insurance plan lies between the bases of premium. In case of national health insurance, it is determined on the basis of your income level. In case of private insurance, it is determined on the basis of ages, gender, health and certain other pre-existing situations. The coverage offered under national and private insurance plan are mostly same. They take care of your hospital stays, routine check ups, dental care, x-rays, immunizations, etc.
Although the premium for private insurance is sometimes more, nevertheless, you can think of opting for private insurance time considering the benefits it offers. If you put no claim within a year, you get a considerable rebate. Moreover, you also get preferential treatments at the hospital. You can choose the hospital where you want to be treated or get a single room for yourself. You can also ask to be treated by a doctor rather than an intern. And guess what, you may even get better food!
Reviews and Travel Health Insurance
If you want to know more about health insurance offered by companies, read on about medical insurance company comparison. The "Stiftung-Warentest" is a reputed online magazine that gives you most reliable consumer reviews. Generally, you can also read on about medical insurance company reviews online (e.g. search: "Test private Krankenversicherung"). You can also take a look at the recent medical insurance reforms called "Gesundheitsreform".
In Germany, most of the insurances are not applicable so if you are travelling to Germany for a short time from US, you need to take travel insurance. Most of the Medicare and Medicaid Insurances are not applicable outside United States. If you are a citizen of EU nation, then you are entitled to similar health benefits as any German citizen but in such a case you need to be covered under insurance plan in your own country. If you are a citizen for Turkey, Croatia, Tunisia, and Switzerland, you are entitled to similar benefits as Germany has bilateral social insurance agreement with these countries.
In Germany, Health Insurance is just not something you have:
It is a rule to be safe and covered