Health insurance for unemployed/returnees

118 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi

 

As I mentioned in my topic description, I am a German citizen, but I never grew up here.

 

I have questions regarding the health insurance system because I am very confused.

 

I was interning in Hamburg and had private health insurance from a company called Care Concept. My internship is over and I am now looking for work, and hence unemployed for the time being. Being unemployed, yet not getting any social welfare, can I sign up for a regular, public health insurance company (eg. TKK or AOK)?. I did my masters degree in Germany and while I was a studying I had coverage from AOK but I left the country and cancelled the contract at the time.

 

Does someone have any advice or suggestions? Does anyone know what the rates are if you are unemployed?

 

Thanks!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Please get in touch via PM with either john_g or Starshollow, TT members who are independent insurance brokers, and specialized in expat issues. You are a German citizen, but many of your questions result from having lived outside of Germany, and I am confident they will be able to help you.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The current German health insurance market is one with many initial choices which, once you are in it, changes to one of very limited options. Avoiding the myriad of potential pitfalls is just one reason why I'd second the.frollein's advice above to contact an independent profi before making any decision.

 

Any of the advertising TT finance and insurance specialists are well placed to advise ex-pats and newcomers due to their experience serving TT members. You can locate listings and adverts if you click on the Business Directory button at the top. Look down that page to the Finance section to find "starshollow" or John Gunn & Partner (tip; the latter is located,like you, in Hamburg).

 

In case you're wondering why many people recommend these 2 TT members you will soon find, by reading some of the archived threads, both these guys have invested much time and effort over years on this board giving free advise to new and old TTers.

 

2B

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Starshallow is correct. You register with AOK for freiwillig versichert. The amount is 147 euros per month and you pay that until you find part/full time employment. Then the costs are divided into I think 8 percent from your income for you and 7 percent your employer pays. Contact AOK after you find employment so they can adjust the type of insurance plus the amount. Good luck!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm not sure if this thread has answered my own question.

 

I'm a German citizen moving to Germany for the first time (in September). I've never paid taxes or had health insurance there before. When I arrive, I will be unemployed but have substantial savings to support myself. If I understand correctly, I should register under the public option with AOK and pay 147 eur per month until I find work?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Yes, if they will insure you. If you have never been insured in Germany before nor have you been insured in another EU country in the last 5 years, they can refuse to take you in which case you would have to look for private insurance. If that happens, you can talk to Starshollow or John G. They are both insurance brokers and can find some solution for you.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Yes, but I would advise you to join Techniker Krankenkasse, they are the ones who before the changes in law were only allowed to insure technical personnel and engineers, and they have a healthier stock of insured than the default insurance AOK, which means they can afford to be more generous to you if you really do get ill.

They also seem to be one of the few public health insurances willing to offer information in English.

 

They will charge according to your total worldwide income, but they will assume a minimum income of 875€ (all public health insurances charge the same).

All your income from all sources worldwide will count as income to them, e.g. capital income, rental income, self-employed income, unemployment benefits, and so on.

 

Assuming those 875€ minimum income they charge 149.63€ per month (source):

 

  • 14.9% for health insurance: 0.149 * 875€ = 130.38€
  • 2.2% for mandatory nursing insurance: 0.022 * 875€ = 19.25€

 

Those 875€ are based on the law, 40 Abs. 4 S. 1 SGB V, and are dependent on the Bezugsgröße (which changes every year), in 2012 it is 2,625€:

30 * Bezugsgröße/90 = 30 * 2,625€/90 = 1/3 * 2,625€ = 875€

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

If you have never been insured in Germany before nor have you been insured in another EU country in the last 5 years, they can refuse to take you in ...

 

No, they can't.

As a German citizen who doesn't have any prior private German health insurance he has the right to join public health insurance.

 

The legal source for this is §5 Absatz 1, 13 SGB V:

 


  • (1) Versicherungspflichtig sind
    ...
    13. Personen, die keinen anderweitigen Anspruch auf Absicherung im Krankheitsfall haben und
  1. zuletzt gesetzlich krankenversichert waren oder
  2. bisher nicht gesetzlich oder privat krankenversichert waren, es sei denn, dass sie zu den in Absatz 5 oder den in § 6 Abs. 1 oder 2 genannten Personen gehören oder bei Ausübung ihrer beruflichen Tätigkeit im Inland gehört hätten.

 

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I just wanted to update this thread with a further clarification.

 

I'm now in Germany and looking for work. My cousin (German) called TK and they said because I've never worked in Germany before, I'm not eligible for Gesetzliche Krankenverischerung (or at least with TK). So we got a quote from a private insurer. Im a healthy, fit 25 year old with no chronic diseases. The quote was for €355 monthly. Considerably more than I was expecting to pay, and since I'm unemployed and eating up my savings to establish myself here, all the bells and whistles of private insurance don't matter to me. I came from Canada and I don't mind waiting a week or so to see a doctor and I take good care of my teeth. I rarely go to the doctor and if I do, it's because I have a nagging ailment for months or a general health question.

 

If I understand correctly, in the predicament I'm in, public insurance won't take me because I'm a German who hasn't worked in Germany before. So, I have to pay for private insurance I don't really need at a price that's over twice I was expecting until I find work and my employer pays half. It's strange to me because I would almost be better off coming to this country with no savings and going on Hartz IV while they pay my living expenses and health insurance.

 

Can anyone help? Am I forced to go with private?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hm, truemana: according to §5 Absatz 1 Nr 13 (Sozialgesetzbuch 5. Buch) SGB V, a German passport holder has the right to apply for public insurance - even if they´ve never worked in Germany before AS LONG AS they were not self-employed or freelance in the country they grew up in ( Canada, for example ). I recommend your ask your cousin to call Techniker or whoever again and mention that paragraph.

 

Alternatively, did either or both of your parents come from Germany and last have public health insurance here? If so, and if you can trace which Kasse they were in, you might be able to get insured with THAT Kasse..so maybe not Techniker.

The quote you for private insurance seems very high for a 25 year old..what the hell is in it? Private room in hospital etc? Who quoted you that? An insurance agent for an insurance company? Did he /she ask you about your budget? Did he or she actually ask if you´re self-employed or unemployed with no earnings/income? Anyway, I can´t see how ANY private German insurer will currently accept your application...they are wanting to see proof of income and will run a Schufa check on you, which will be negative automatically - because you´re not in the system! )

 

If the trick with the public Kasse doesn´t work, try a legal international insurance with a deductible to cut the cost. It´ll be nowhere near what you were quoted. Such an insurance can be cancelled easily if you get into public insurance through becoming an employee.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Okay, I'll mention it to my cousin and we'll see where to go. Neither of my parents are from Germany. My grandfather was and left Germany in 1951.

 

Yes, it was quite the bells and whistles-type. I'm a bit conflicted because I trust my cousin and her suggestions, but I really don't care for anything but emergency health insurance since I probably won't be unemployed for very long. Her and her partner see doctors much more regularly and they see the value in it. I'd be willing to consider it once I'm employed with an income and my employer pays half.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It´s not an issue that you trust your cousin and her suggestions, truemana. That´s fine! The issue is: the system! Nobody knows their right hand from their left! Neither the people in the public system nor the private! I´ve got someone coming round from Techniker in the next few days to talk about this and that...believe me, I´ll grill her! It is absolute madness here.

 

People contact me every day: I need health insurance and I need it quickly for: my employer, a visa application, oh, I want to change ( don´t like the current guys ), can I pay less next month because I wasn´t ill, can I cancel: I don´t ever get ill etc.

 

Tough! Actually, you say you don´t care about anything but emergency health insurance because you probably won´t be unemployed for very long. I hope not for your sake...but there are laws here about what IS health insurance and the minimum standards...

Don´t shoot the messenger, please....

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

No messenger shot! Your thoughts are very much appreciated. I'll update when I have more info.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

The quote was for €355 monthly. Considerably more than I was expecting to pay,

 

How much were you expecting to pay?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Did your cousin tell TK you were German? If so, I find it odd, because I did a preliminary enquiry for my sister (same situation - German passport holder who'd never lived in Germany), and was told that there'd be no problem insuring her! I asked in person, and the TK staff here are pretty friendly, but that's still no explanation why Truemana was rejected.

 

(Sister got a job elsewhere and ended up not moving to Germany.)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

How much were you expecting to pay?

 

I wasn't planning on getting private if I could avoid it. I don't need it right now, being unemployed and very healthy. For public insurance, I was expecting roughly on the order quote above by John G. (~€150/m)

 

 

Did your cousin tell TK you were German? If so, I find it odd, because I did a preliminary enquiry for my sister (same situation - German passport holder who'd never lived in Germany), and was told that there'd be no problem insuring her! I asked in person, and the TK staff here are pretty friendly, but that's still no explanation why Truemana was rejected.

 

(Sister got a job elsewhere and ended up not moving to Germany.)

 

Okay! I just tried calling TK and the woman was very nice but didn't speak english. I think she said something about some colleagues of her might speak english. I speak very little German, so I will get my cousin to call back again. Sigh... I have a mound of motivations to learn the language quickly and well! Getting things done here is completely dependent on my cousin and I hate it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

So, I have to pay for private insurance I don't really need at a price that's over twice I was expecting until I find work and my employer pays half. It's strange to me because

 

You need professional advice. I really think you should contact John and take a long-term view to this problem. If you choose private now, you'll not be able to get back into the public system later (I think you have a good chance of earning more than the Beitragsbemessungsgrenze). Even though you're probably be better off in private, you really shouldn't jump into things.

 

 

I would almost be better off coming to this country with no savings and going on Hartz IV while they pay my living expenses and health insurance.

 

Considering your educational background and experience, they would have very quickly found jobs for you (although not necessarily ones you'd have choosen for yourself).

 

 

I speak very little German, so I will get my cousin to call back again. Sigh... I have a mound of motivations to learn the language quickly and well! Getting things done here is completely dependent on my cousin and I hate it.

 

Can you please explain that to the next newbie who assumes that they can obtain services everywhere in English? They never seem to believe me... :rolleyes:

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

 

You need professional advice. I really think you should contact John and take a long-term view to this problem. If you choose private now, you'll not be able to get back into the public system later (I think you have a good chance of earning more than the Beitragsbemessungsgrenze). Even though you're probably be better off in private, you really shouldn't jump into things.

 

Considering your educational background and experience, they would have very quickly found jobs for you (although not necessarily ones you'd have choosen for yourself).

 

Can you please explain that to the next newbie who assumes that they can obtain services everywhere in English? They never seem to believe me...

 

Hahaha I was well prepared to come here with minimal expectations of English in domestic companies and government depts, but I've had three or four flat-out responses "Nein." when I ask, "Sprechen sie Englisch?" (out of about three or four attempts). I think my previous experience was in large cities with lots of exposure and need for English speakers. My biggest surprise was the negative respsonse from a representative in an HR department in Berlin from a large international Canadian company.

 

THAT said, I have to learn and the motivation is growing. People are really nice and helpful even when I flap my arms around and draw diagrams.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The trick sometimes is NOT to ask whether they speak English.. just apologize and say your German is terrible and proceed in English and see what they do. Many Germans will say they can't speak English if asked, because they don't think their English is good enough. If you can get them to try, you'll find it's not as bad as they think, and you can get through OK. It doesn't always work, but you'd be surprised.

 

That said.. for health insurance it's important to make sure you receive the correct information and understand correctly, so I would recommend using an insurance broker, or fluent German speaker to sort the issue out for you.

4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now