Moving from private to public health insurance

128 posts in this topic

Hi JohnG,

 

I'm employed by a German company as a full time employee, since March 1. My health insurance is currently an expat one, with AXA PPP, so I need to change it to a German one.

 

Cheers

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.and they´ve not mentioned health insurance as an issue?I`m amazed.

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From your information with regards to your gross salary ouside Germany in past 3 years being for some time below the threshold, the results is pretty much straightforward: you have to join the public health insurance as an employee in Germany regardless of how higher your new/current salary in Germany may be. Since this is something you wanted in the first place: congrats - it does not happen often that people get what they hope for when it comes to health insruance in this country....

Once again there are some differences in public health insurance costs - thus you might want to check what really works best for you.

You should then add a decent travel health insurance to your public insurance, costs only 20-30 EUR/year and covers you for all medically required treatments abroad and around the world.

If you intend to stay in Germany for a while, you might want to think about some private add-on insurance, supplementary coverage for dental and hospital treatment, for instance...

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Thanks eveybody for your answers, might actually think about it if i want to stay in the GKV or switch to the PKV...

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I saw this on the Deutsche Rentenversicherung's web-site, concerning the amount paid by Rentenvesicherung for those with private health insurance upon retirement:

 

Höhe des Zuschusses

Der Zuschuss zur freiwilligen oder privaten Krankenversicherung wird in Höhe des halben Betrages geleistet, der sich nach Anwendung des um 0,9 Beitragssatzpunkte geminderten allgemeinen Beitragssatzes in Höhe von 14,9 Prozent auf den Zahlbetrag der Rente ergibt. Der Zuschuss beträgt demnach rechnerisch 7 Prozent der Rente.

Sind Sie privat krankenversichert, wird der Zuschuss gegebenenfalls auf die Hälfte der tatsächlichen Aufwendungen zur privaten Krankenversicherung begrenzt.

 

http://www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de/nn_11922/SharedDocs/de/Navigation/Rente/Leistungen/KVdR__PVdR/KVDR__Zuschuss__node.html__nnn=true#doc6112bodyText2

 

 

But that's not the same as saying it gets "more expensive" though, is it? It's about funding the premium. What you mean is that there is still the premium to be paid after retirement but no salary - but even that wil be paid in part by the government. My German family have a large % of theirs met.

 

I am a little curious whether these family members are getting a very large pension, therefore they are getting a large part of their health insurance paid?

 

 

"Private insurance doesn't get more expensive as you get older anyway" I do not know where you get your info, but IIRC you are dead wrong on this point. I hear from fellow workers who are in the private health insurance sector who are over fifty are asking themselves how they going to afford the private ins. premiums after they retire, and wish they were in the public ins. system.

 

Would the above not then be a geniune concern for those who are in PKV but may not receive a decent pension? They will be ultimately be forced to switch to the Basis Tariff (i.e. similiar benefits like GKV) because they no longer be able to afford to pay for the PKV premiums anymore.

 

Would it be naive to say that it is a good thing to move from PKV to GKV when one is older (if one has the opportunity) because then one could have his cake and eat it then?

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Would it be naive to say that it is a good thing to move from PKV to GKV when one is older (if one has the opportunity) because then one could have his cake and eat it then?

This is exactly why the gov. made it hard or even impossible to act like this.. if you decide to go private, you are stuck with it by your own decison - there is no voluntary way back (unless, as discussed above, you move from freelance to employment or you have moved out of German for a while and while abroad been insured with another EU public healht insurance for some time). they want to avoid this kinda free rider problem and if you are over 57 years of age, you cannot even get back in to public insurance if you take up an employment with usually compulsory public insurance.

 

When deciding whether to go private or public, one should make a clear decision what one wants and if you want to safe a lot of money while young and independent, you should make sure that you'll invest the savings properly and do not simply squander it...

 

Of course if you only plan to stay for a couple of year in Germany anyway, you would be foolish to even consider going public if you have a choice to go private and thus save considerbale amounts of money. But there have been cases where suddenly love struck and changed the payling field and then you might want to have stayed in public insurance but can't anymore... Decisions mean taking and accepting risks.

 

Cheerio

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if you decide to go private, you are stuck with it by your own decison - there is no voluntary way back (unless, as discussed above, you move from freelance to employment or you have moved out of German for a while and while abroad been insured with another EU public healht insurance for some time).

Could someone enlighten me about this situation, please:

 

Me - EU citizen who didn't pay another EU public health insurance in the last 5 years (and visited Germany in the past, with travel insurance). Because of this, if I move today to Germany, without a job, I'll have to get private insurance. Correct?

 

But once I'll get a job, will I have to switch to public insurance? Or will I be able to keep the private one, even with a salary much lower than EUR 40k per year?

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You are correct - when you arrive in Germany and are wihtout employment or rather self-employed, you can only opt for a private health insurance according to your info.

If and when you enter an employment then, you can indeed only get insured with compulsory public health insurance. There is no way you can continue your prior private insurance. The good news, however, is this: once your public health insurance starts with the new job, your "old" private German insurance stops automatically the same day, so you need never fear to be faced with double costs or so. It is just a nuisance to switch to and fro, that's all it is...

 

Cheerio

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d4n:this is indeed the land of thinkers and logic,no? :D

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This is exactly why the gov. made it hard or even impossible to act like this.. if you decide to go private, you are stuck with it by your own decison - there is no voluntary way back (unless, as discussed above, you move from freelance to employment or you have moved out of German for a while and while abroad been insured with another EU public healht insurance for some time). they want to avoid this kinda free rider problem and if you are over 57 years of age, you cannot even get back in to public insurance if you take up an employment with usually compulsory public insurance.

 

So I guess I was lucky to be able to use this loophole by being privately insured and then being able to get back into public because of the freelancing stint... :)

 

But maybe another way to beat the system is to join the PKV all the way (to enjoy the low premium) and then join the Basis Tariff when one retires (to enjoy the low premium again).

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First of all, Thanks.

Some well directed and helpful information. I have some responses i wanted to add before it got too out of date, but the saga continues in that im still tracking down information, anyway...

 

 

kib928: here are some answers for you, hope that eases the pain from the head-spinning a bit...

Is SBK "public Insurance"? (a dumb question but im bewildered now)

 

Please be aware that there is only very low or even zero coverage with this abroad. if you travel outside Germany, make sure you have a decent travel health insurance set up (costs maybe 20-30 EUR per year only!)

 

 

 

Thanks for the advice and the Travel ins tip, thats spot on. I'll check into that as im planning to see a bit of Europe, certainly!

 

 

 

Assuming that she is an Aussie, too and since you guys are not married, she can not join you at SBK (unless she has at some point in the past been insured with a public health insurance in Germany, but even then she'll need to have her own membership and pay for it). She will thus need her own private health insurance.

 

 

I emailed a guy at SBK before i read your reply. Interestingly, his initial response was, that the only barrier to my girlfriend joining was whether or not she has permission to stay [in Germany] for longer than 12 months. Now, The plan is that she wil have a residence permit to last at least as long as im employed here. I told the guy this, and asked about having to be married, the costs, more detail, and as yet im waiting for a response... I'll keep you posted.

 

The other thing i was thinking, was just to get my Girlfriend Travel insurance. Max is 1 year, but i guess we'll fly home in that time, so possibly she could even reset the timer and just take another travel policy next year. I know its not the best, but maybe easier. Of course, the question then is, would she be covered if she were technically a german resident. i supose not. So in that case we'd be back to separate private ins policy for her.

 

 

 

First you have to assess if you can actually get out of the public health insurance. In order to do so you must meet the following criteria/requirements:

during the last three years you must have had a gross salary which, converted into EUR, exceeds certain thresholds? These threshold were:

2007: > 47.700 EUR

2008: > 48.150 EUR

2009: > 48.600 EUR

and for this year 2010 your gross salary should be in excess of 4.162,50 EUR per month or totaling 49.950.- EUR at the end of the year

 

 

Ok so, i was a student in 2007, so im way off that year. So for this year at least im publicly insured.

It raises the question though; for the proof of earnings, Must this be strictly within the German calendar years? Because the Australian financial year is July to June, so with e.g. pay rise timings im not sure i could be seen as above threshold in each year.

The other question would be exchange rate, because depending how you calculate, that can have a big influence. You'd have to use an average of e.g. the daily exch rate, averaged each pay month? My head is starting to spin again!

 

Again, thanks. Will be chacking back here frequently

(its almost fascinating how complex it is)

Cheers,

Kieran.

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HI there!

I would find it very interesting (and a contrast to anything the law says as I understand it and as others have interpreted it to me) if a girlfriend could join you in your public insurance without extra payments or at all... That would indeed be news for me (and many others). So do please keep us posted.

 

TRavel insurance for her: as long as she is here on a tourist Visa, that is ok by all means. As soon as she applies for any other form of residence, this would not be sufficient by law. Now here comes an additional problem (putting some more spinn on your head now, I know): the immigration laws, which allow her to be her on travel insurance and the insurance laws which determine what as resident has to have in Germany are out of sync right now. Because the insurance law talks simply about anyone having a "Wohnsitz" (i.e. residence) in Germany requiring a full German health insurance. It is my personal and professional opinion that you can only have a legal residence here if you are in Germany based on a residence permit OTHER than a tourist Visa. But the insurance companies and the federal authority BAFIN seem to interprete the law in such a way that you have to have German insurance once you registered an address at the local Einwohnermeldeamt - which legally you have to do within 7 days upon moving in someplace. This in the end can lead to a situation - and has done so quite often last year and this year so far - where, if and when the Expat who was allowed to live here by the immigration authorities on a travel insurance has or wants to move over to a German insurance, the require to see the last "Meldebestätigung" and then levy backcharges all the way to the point in time where you started to live in Germany, regardless of your residence status...

Basically there is a legal confusion here nobody has yet been able to clear up - and now more and more immigration offices start to lean in the same direction and demand full health insurance even from people who should be ok with a travel or Expat insurance.

So, yes, you can probably get her in on a travel insurance and keep it that way for a while, but if she later wants/needs her own insurance, she could face backcharges from either public or private health insurance.

 

With regards to your own status: if 2007 your gross salary was below the threshold, then you have to stay for 2010 in public insurance, too. UNless, as proposed by the new gov., they'll change that back to the old way in the summer of this year. In which case you might already get out in a couple of month's time.( do I hear another spinning...? :D )

 

Now with regards to proof of income: I am not entirely sure if there is a clear set rule ahout currency conversion. In the cases where I had to make that point towards an unwilling public insurance I used the website below which can give average/high/low currency rate for entire years in the past and at least when the average rate was good enough to lift a gross salary in EUR over the treshold, there never was a problem. In one or two cases where the DEc. rate was higher than the yearly average I even tricked them to accept just the rate as per 31.12.xxyy instead of the average (they never checked, because they usually are lazy and in this over their heads).

 

http://www.oanda.com/lang/de/currency/historical-rates

 

But is usally has to be the income from a calendar year. so if the tax note is April to April, you'll just need to use the payslips from Jan-Dec to make your point. If you are new here and just starting the job, it is actually easy because then only your employer has to check this and make a decision. Once you are IN the public system, sometimes they, too, want to see this before letting you out.

 

Alright, hope this helps more than it confuses,

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Hi All,

 

Thanks starshollow for the "watch out" tips - appreciated.

I have some further information RE public Insurance for question/comment/debate/outrage...

 

 

HI there!

I would find it very interesting (and a contrast to anything the law says as I understand it and as others have interpreted it to me) if a girlfriend could join you in your public insurance without extra payments or at all... That would indeed be news for me (and many others). So do please keep us posted.

 

A guy at SBK got back to me;

 

"Dear Kieran,

 

She can be covered with SBK by a monthly contribution of 140,53 €. Requirement is a minimum of 12 months a valid residence permit and no other person has to ensure the livehood. In order to examine the requirements I need a copy of the permit."

 

Seems almost too easy, although im not clear on what he means by "...no other person has to ensure the livelihood."

I'll have to clarify that with him, but does anyone know what he means?

 

Still, it seems the simplest option would be, that my girlfirend come, register as a resident, and we bend over and start paying 140/month.

 

However... (see more below)

 

 

TRavel insurance for her: as long as she is here on a tourist Visa, that is ok by all means. As soon as she applies for any other form of residence, this would not be sufficient by law. Now here comes an additional problem (putting some more spinn on your head now, I know): the immigration laws, which allow her to be her on travel insurance and the insurance laws which determine what as resident has to have in Germany are out of sync right now. Because the insurance law talks simply about anyone having a "Wohnsitz" (i.e. residence) in Germany requiring a full German health insurance. It is my personal and professional opinion that you can only have a legal residence here if you are in Germany based on a residence permit OTHER than a tourist Visa. But the insurance companies and the federal authority BAFIN seem to interprete the law in such a way that you have to have German insurance once you registered an address at the local Einwohnermeldeamt - which legally you have to do within 7 days upon moving in someplace. This in the end can lead to a situation - and has done so quite often last year and this year so far - where, if and when the Expat who was allowed to live here by the immigration authorities on a travel insurance has or wants to move over to a German insurance, the require to see the last "Meldebestätigung" and then levy backcharges all the way to the point in time where you started to live in Germany, regardless of your residence status...

Basically there is a legal confusion here nobody has yet been able to clear up - and now more and more immigration offices start to lean in the same direction and demand full health insurance even from people who should be ok with a travel or Expat insurance.

So, yes, you can probably get her in on a travel insurance and keep it that way for a while, but if she later wants/needs her own insurance, she could face backcharges from either public or private health insurance.

 

... My scheming mind has this plan;

 

1. My girlfriend could come to live here as a tourist (with applicable visa), from july until christmas, when we plan to go home for a visit.

during this time she would be covered by travel insurance. and all we need to do is make sure the town hall doesnt know she's living here. (i cant see why this would be a problem - anyone?),

2. after returning after chritmas, we can then register her as a resident with appropriate visa, and then start paying with SBK, or try to go private if possible. I dont see why, in this case, we would have to pay any backcharges (but then, i dont think like the german legal system!).

 

So...

I know im asking a lot, but can anyone see any holes in that plan?

I am still looking as to whether she can change status from tourist to resident without problems e.g. having to wait. I would also have to talk to unkle siemens whether they would agree (since they were going to help get her the residence permit), but i cant see what difference it makes to them.

 

Thanks as always

Kieran,

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... My scheming mind has this plan;

1. My girlfriend could come to live here as a tourist (with applicable visa), from july until christmas,

Sorry all just a late edit:

When i say tourist visa above, what i meant was a work and travel visa which allows 1 year in DE.

Hope that clears some confusion.

 

Kieran

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Hi kjb928,

 

As no one else has answered to your post yet, I just wanted to add some issues I see with not registering. If she either wants to get her own bank account, a job or pretty much anything which requires a contract like a mobile phone or even gym membership then she'd have to provide her registration papers and proof of address.

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Hi,

I hope someone can make things a bit clearer for me regarding insurance when switching from freelancing to employment.

 

I'm maried and have one child. All of us are currently privately insured on the same policy. I've been working as selfemployed in the last 3 years or so, but I'm changing to employment now.

 

According to what I've seen in an earlier post of Starshollow I have will have to change to a public health insurance:

 

 

If and when you enter an employment then, you can indeed only get insured with compulsory public health insurance. There is no way you can continue your prior private insurance.

Is this valid in my case as well or I can still stay with the private one?

 

Another question is what happens with the insurances of my wife and my child?

 

My wife used to be a stay at home mom, but this year she started working as selfemployed. Her business is failing and it will be closed in the next 3 months or so. Do we need to still pay for her private insurance or will my wife and my child be automaticaly included in the public insurance from the begining (even if she is still selfemployed for a few months more).

 

Many Thanks.

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mccld: the legal situation is just about to change (again) for cases like your's. what I refered to in the post you quotes is the current and still valid legal situation. According to which you need three consecutive years of a GROSS SALARY over the legal thresholds before you can opt out from public insurance and go for private health insurance. Obviously, as a freelancer/self-employed person you did not have any gross SALARY in the last three years and hence, regardless of how much your starting salary as an employee would be, you would need to stay in a German public health insurance for three years with a salary over the threshold before you could go (back) to your private health insurance.

However, probably at the end of this week or early next week the German parliament is going to pass a law which brings the legal situation back to the pre-2007 situation--- which means that anyone who has a gross salary over the threshold by January 2011 will be able to opt out from public insurance at once.

So, with regards to your situation, this is how it plays out: if you start your employment still in 2010, you will need to enter into the public health insurance for 1-2 month, but you can get out of there by January 2011. If you want to go with the private health insurance - and your family situation sounds a bit like this could be the better options for you guys - then I would recommend that you set up an "Anwartschaft" with your current private health insurance for the short period of time so that you can go back based on the same status which you have right now (and no new problems with "medical conditions" and the likes). Unless you want to get away from this insurance anyway...

Now, with regards to your wife: if and when she really gives up her current occupation (sorry to hear that it did not work out for her) she might be able to join you for free as a dependent family member in the public health insurance if you decide to go/stay with public health insurance in your new employment. If that is going to make sense will depend on two parameters: 1) your gross salary and thus how much you are going to pay into the public health insurance and 2) if she is going to stay out of work/income for considerable time or not. Plus, of course: all of your medical conditions and what you expect from a health insurance. if you look at the problems members of public health isnurance currently face here in Bavaria in getting an appointment with a dentist before the end of the year because the AOK budget has run out for this year, you might find some points in favour for private health insurance besides the pure cost comparison alone...

 

Anyway: your situation sounds like a case where you should involve a professional and independent advisor so that you can get all info cleared about your options both with public and private insurance and thus can make a truly educated decision in the end. Several good advisors advertise here in Toytown, take your pick...

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

Hi folks,

 

I am 26 and for the last 2 years I have worked as a freelance English trainer but I have just got offered a full time job (not teaching, ole!), meaning I will no long be teaching. Due to this, I will also be earning under the 45,000 Euro threshold, meaning I do not have to take private health insurance. To be honest, I would rather have the government health insurance, so I do no have to deal with all the red tape crap with the private insurance if I get ill.

 

So, is it possible to switch from private to government health insurance if you are no longer a freelancer?

 

I am used to the NHS simpleton system, e.g. 'here is my name, get in the queue, don't bother with any paperwork' lark and to be honest, want to get into that system here.

 

I am with Hansemerkur, but paying like 200 Euros a month for nothing and would rather see the back of them.

 

Any ideas?

 

Cheers,

 

Adrian

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adrian: if you´ve just been offered a job as an employee ( right? ) under 45,000 euros a year, you have to go into the public system as a Pflichtversicherte ( compulsory member of public insurance ). Just call a public insurer and get the forms or contact a Toytown broker. You and your employer together will be paying 15.5% of your gross income into the public insurance. Your part will be 8.2% of your monthly gross income. Plus you´ll have to pay into the public pension scheme etc so there are disadvantages, too!

 

PS: there is NO Government health insurance here or anywhere else!! It´s a public system, albeit with an array of competing Kassen ( companies ).

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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It's the other way, isn't it? "Government" is not the place you look to if you want to avoid "red tape" ;) . It's the last place. You usually avoid it like the plague.

 

The "red tape" is in the Krankenkasse system. You may need their permission / confirmation to have certain procedures (particularly some major things) at least if you want not to have to pay for it. You have to join a Hausarzt. And so on.

 

Private insurance is a free market - usually the total opposite of bureaucracy. You just buy what you like when you need or want it, usually from the end medical specialist or provider. The only issue to you is who pays for it. The only "paperwork" in my experience is a signature on a form saying you are responsible for the bill - all of about five seconds. No more "red tape" than buying a pair of shoes.

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