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Health insurance in Germany

23 posts in this topic

Posted

Here´s just a little update for self-employed/freelance expats coming to Germany and having to get health insurance to be here legally!

Now, we´ve just had the chaos with the introduction of unisex tariffs and the end of the bisex tariffs for private German health insurance ( for new clients only ). New prices, new models and all the rest of it! They´ve all been writing us with their new ideas, some of them clever!

The first problem: as is well-known, you don´t qualify for public insurance/gesetzliche Krankenversicherung if you haven´t been in a European public system the previous 12 months or for 2 of the past 5 years. Many know that now.

The second problem - and back to those who MUST seek a private solution - is...despite the new tariffs and all the new brochures and all the rest of it: they don´t want YOU, dear expat!!!

It has been a problem for a couple of years for non-EU citizens to get privately health insured but now: even for EU citizens, the door is closing fast in most (but not all) cases. In the past year or two, there was a trend for the private insurers to say: " ok, we´ll check their financial background ( the so-called Schufa ) before making a decision " .

Now, January 2013, and based on a host of phone calls this week, I can report - in 99% of cases, they won´t even bother asking for the Schufa if you´re a newly arrived self-employed/freelancer - just a flat rejection.

The background: you cannot be thrown out of private or public German health insurance for non-payment and there are currently around 150,000 " ailing " private health insurance contracts ie way behind in payments. The privates don´t want the risk..understandable in a way.

Public insurance? Well, IF you qualify for it as a voluntary member (freelance/self-employed) but don´t get organised within 3 months: mostly a flat rejection, too, for the same reason. At best: backpayments.

What if you´re an employee? Well, if you qualify for private insurance and IF you prefer that: you´ll need mostly to prove a longish-term commitment to the system. How? By showing a work contract of a minimum 3 years ( in many cases, 5 years or unrestricted ) AND the relevant Aufenthaltserlaubnis/ residence permit. This works in some cases ( but on a case by case basis).

Welcome to chaos!

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Posted

Thanks for the update, John. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, both in the immediate context of Germany wanting to attract skilled non-EU immigrants and in the long-term public vs. private debate.

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Posted

Thank you, John, good information as always! Happy New Year!

Just a couple of days ago I had a interesting conversation with a high standing member that works with the military. Working as a Civilian now and after years of living in Germany, him and his German wife are now facing the dilemma who insures him after he turns 65 year.

This is a person who fulfilled/es all the requirements, payed into health insurance for a long time and still cannot continue to have health insurance in Germany starting this year. I believe he is working with other people in a similar situation on contacting the Consulate and other places to somehow get that worked out. He may have to leave his home and the country because he would have no more health insurance, pay thousands of Euros upfront before he could even receive treatment, so staying in Germany would be a no go.

I sure hope that a solution can be found, my husband is in the same boat. If private (or any other) health insurance costs a midsize annual salary, it's time to leave Germany and perhaps use herbs and tea for future health treatment. :lol:

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Posted

we are currently updating our own data-base to this regards, too - thanks for your input, John, you beat me to it. As John has said, for non-EU self-employed/freelancing Expats, chances for a German health insurance ---- even though to have one is a legal requirement for VIsa and residence permit etc - is basically impossible since 2011. International health insurances can offer some alternative for the time being and also make it easier later to switch over to German private health insurances (after 2-3 years)

The rejection of EU-citizen who come to Germany as self-employed/freelancers is in my opinion a clear vioaltion of EU laws and I am monitoring this and have already involved a MEP (member of European parliament) in this issue as it might be necessary to step on some toes here with a vengance. I'd be happy to collect cases where EU citizen who are self-employed are being rejected on the base that they can't show prior German health insurance - if any of you know of such cases or have experienced something like that, do please let me know and send me some info by PM or email to be able to make it a case.

Cheerio

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Posted

It gets worse, Starshollow! A couple of companies I called last week are rejecting even German clients for private health insurance unless they´ve been publicly insured for at least the past two years!!!

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Posted

WTF?

The really want to get the legislation to cancel them being a substitutive health insurance, it seems?

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Posted

WTF?

The really want to get the legislation to cancel them being a substitutive health insurance, it seems?

I´ll PM you with the names of the companies who told me that, Starshollow!

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Posted

It's madness. Bring on a reform, the sooner the better.

Don't hold your breath...

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Posted

You all know where the phrase Catch 22 comes from, don´t you? :D It wasn´t from Germany but it could have been!!! A great and wonderful country trying its hardest to be avoided by potential talent from overseas. ( Not that the UK, for example, is excelling itself at the moment ).

Hey, I could go back to Brazil...found my old ID card from there the other day...not sure if it´s still valid!!! 1978 and slightly dated photo!!!

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Posted

Well, for starters the coverage period for these tariffs is only for a few years... what would you do after that if you couldn't renew it?

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Posted

If it sounds too good to be true...

But what is wrong with www.healthinsuranceingermany.com/?

It´s in the wording, Mad. It mostly refers to travel insurance - which is NOT accepted in 99% of cases for a freelance work permit! Some slip through the system but not many these days...many people who contact us have had the Hanse Merkur travel insurance but have been refused the working visa if they are applying to work here as freelancers/self-employed.

It is ok for tourists and short term stayers and sometimes students but that´s it.

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Posted

Yep, it's in the wording - from that website itself:

The insurance meets the requirements for a Schengen-Visa...

The travel insurance from "Hanse-Merkur" (from 30.90 € / 30 days, for a maximum of up to 2 years) meets the regulatory requirements of the embassy and immigration office for a Schengen Visa...

Yes, this health insurance meets the standard requirements for a visa application (Schengen Visa)...

Yes, the health insurance coverage meets with the regulations for a Schengen Visa...

Please be aware that the insurance for foreigners must comply with the regulations for a ShengenVisa (sic) as agreed upon by the Council of the European Union on 12/22/2003 (2004/17/EG)....

You can then use these documents at the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) or embassy to apply for a ShengenVisa (sic)...

My bold.

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Posted

Kato: at the link that MAM has posted, they also show that they offer "real" German health insurance but with no prices mentioned (of course) because that is something they need to quote separately.

Problem with the travel-insurances is this: sometimes you can indeed get your "Schengen-Visa" at first with these travel-health-insurances. There is no clear red line there along the different immigration/aliens offices in Germany. BUT: if at any later point you want or need to switch to a German public or private health insurance, these travel health insurances are not recognized as having fullfilled the obligations for all residents to obtain and hold adequate health insurance under § 193 Abs 3 VVG and thus the poor sods who have used this insurance will face penalty back charges for the entire time they lived under this travel-insurance coverage in Germany. Not even Hanse Merkur health insurance accepts Hanse Merkur travel health insurance (they are two different legal entities) as sufficient coverage under German law for full residents.

his is why you can only use it if you are really only here on a long travel or as an academic in some time limited research projects etc.

For all others I would strongly recommend at the very least a good BaFin approved international health insurance.

Cheerio

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Posted

Just had a very positive experience with Volker Weichgrebe of Openfinance

Jungfernstieg 48

20354 Hamburg

Telefon 040 63 94 56 88

Fax 040 63 94 56 86

e.-mail vw@openfinance.de

www.openfinance.de

Very helpful and we were able to do the paperwork online, one of the partners is married to a Nepalese and apparently they process a lot of policies for people from Nepal so that they have insurance waiting from day one.

Katherine

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Posted

That´s good to hear, Katherine, that you had a positive experience. If the gentleman involved is really client-friendly: all power to him.

Just a question: what do you mean by processing a lot of policies so people have insurance waiting from day one? What type of clients are they? Self-employed without a visa, dependents, arriving employees etc? It ´s very complicated here. This cannot work " just like that ".

But again; if your experience was positive: good.

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Posted

as is well-known, you don´t qualify for public insurance/gesetzliche Krankenversicherung if you haven´t been in a European public system the previous 12 months or for 2 of the past 5 years.

Hi,

Many thanks for this useful thread! A bit of background: Over the past 5 years I was publicly insured in Germany as an employee (27 months) then living in the UK and NHS-insured (33 months). I'm about to move to Germany again and register as self-employed.

I've just been looking at the websites of the TK, DAK and Siemens. On their application forms for the self-employed, all three of them want information about where the applicant was insured for the past 18 months, not 12. Why is this? I thought only the past 12 months counted? Also, there's no box to tick for those applicants who were publicly insured in Germany for 2 of the past 5 years (this applies to me). Are they just being sneaky and trying to dissuade people like me (i.e. foreign self-employed) from applying?

Also, how can I prove I was insured by the NHS for the past few years? Would the Abmeldung from Germany to UK and then the Anmeldung from UK to Germany be enough, since UK residence plus UK nationality = automatic NHS cover? Elsewhere on the forum someone mentioned getting a letter from the GP, but I haven't been registered with my GP for 12 months yet.

I'll phone the insurance companies and ask, of course, but it'd be good to know what to expect...

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Posted

That´s interesting, gotta_love_germany. No idea why they ask for 18 months. I don´t think they´re being sneaky - I reckon they just don´t know the rules. Most employees at the public Kassen don´t..same goes for most employees at the private companies.

Forget UK residence and UK nationality and automatic NHS cover. 99% of the employees whether public or private companies don´t know! They also think Scotland is a part of England by the way and that mint sauce is served with beef!

Getting a letter from the GP: I think I wrote that re Techniker because I got annoyed with the proof system. It works ( after about 3 reminders..." your boss said.." ).

By the way, depending, of course, you can get exemption for a year ( possibly till two years) as a freelancer coming to Germany from the UK from the German system....bureaucratic, of course.

Don´t expect too much from your phone calls! Nightmare! :D

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Posted

You can get a letter from the NHS to prove that you were insured. This used to be called form E104, now it's called something else. You can find the info here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cnr/osc.htm#6 where it says: "Statement to assist Sickness Benefit claims (known as an E104 until 30 April 2010). This shows the National Insurance contributions you have paid and can assist a claim for sickness or maternity benefits abroad." and that you should fill out this form: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/2005/ca3916.pdf to apply for it.

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Posted

The British NHS no longer give out E104 forms, Leon. Some EU directive..too tired now to provide the link. It works with some EU States still, though. There´s now the A1 for self-employed coming here as long as they stay self-employed for a year/2 years and depending on other criteria and you can stay in the UK ( or other home country ) system for a year/2 years.

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Posted

Thanks for the replies, john g and Leon.

It all looks really complicated but I'm going to give it a shot... wish me luck! :rolleyes:

Just one question before I start ringing round the insurance companies: some of them are "Ersatzkassen" e.g. the KKH. Is this the same as a public insurance company? Are there any disadvantages to being insured with an Ersatzkasse? A quick Wikipedia search threw up something about Bismarck, which wasn't really that helpful.

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Posted

without having seen the forms where they asked for 18 month prior I would venture to say that the 18 month period is listed because if you are a member of a German public health insurance you can only cancel and move to another public health insurance after having been a member for 18+ months.

The change with the E104-forms (now A1) is really a pity as most German public insurances do still not understand that it is now them that have to get the information from the NHS instead of the insurance client/member (as was in the past). This makes it a bit complicated...in my experience at least in a number of EU memberstates the old way still works, i.e. that they still fil out the E104 forms...but the NHS does not seem to that anymore.

Good luck

Cheerio

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