Legality of Int'l Health Insurance in Germany

165 posts in this topic

Great post! Thanks for taking the time for it

 

One point I have is that you say

"they demand full premiums for back-charges for every single month ever since. if your income is and was over, say, 3.600 EUr gross per month, you'd be facing back-charges of around 600 EUR for every month"

 

but then you say

 

"The first 6 months in full, for every month after that with one 1/6th of the monthly premiums."

 

So are you charged fully for each month after April 2007 (so if the total number of months is 9 months in 2007 + 12 in 2008 + 12 in 2009 + 12 in 2010 = 45) * 600 = quite a lot

or is it (6 * 600) + (37 * 600)/6 = less but still a lot

 

And could you say how much is a ballpark figure for a cheap legal insurance for a tariff with a very high deductible/excess option? Say for a male, late thirties.

And if you chose this option and then changed it later are you sure this works and that they don't charge you for the full amount later?

Thanks again

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Hi,

 

sorry if in the whole long essay sometime still remain unclear..

The public health insurance like AOK, DAK, IKK and what not will levy full back-charges and can do so all the way back to April 2007. So, if you earned, say, more than 40.000 EUR in each year in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and they find a reason to come after you, they would be allowed to back-charge you 35 month (now in Nov 2010) time 600-something EUR

The private health insurance, however, have a different set of rules. Firstly they can only go back til February 2009 and secondly this rule with the first 6 month full and then every following month with 1/6th of the monthly premium does apply to them. So normally the back-charges will be much lower in comparison to public insurance, obviously. Plus, you can get yourself pretty low premiums from a private health insurance as described above (with the high deductible/low basic coverage thingy) and thus you can, ideally and if you are not too old and with medical conditions, you can acutally get an insurance premiu on which these back-charges are based at, say below 100 EUr per month. So, in our example this would then come down to 6 times 100 EUR and 29 times 1/6th of 100 EUR.

 

This is particularily important to know if you have been self-employed/freelancing for some time with an International Health insurance and plan to enter into an employment in Germany which would come with a compulsory public health insurance (if the gross salary would be below 49.500 EUR per year for example). If you just sign up with the public health insurance, they will demand to know how long you have been already in Germany and how you have been insured and then levy these extremely high back-charges on you. But if shortly beforehand you sign up with a private health insurance and pay your much lower back-charges there, they cannot top this up later. And your private contract would end immideately and without any problems for you the same day your new employment starts. But you have to set this all up at least a month or two beforehand (and please not with me because I do not want to have the cancellation problems with the insurance companies which always give a broker a black mark if it happens too often. But I am more than happy to turn you into the right direction :D )

 

Hope this makes it all much more clear now?

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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And could you say how much is a ballpark figure for a cheap legal insurance for a tariff with a very high deductible/excess option? Say for a male, late thirties.

And if you chose this option and then changed it later are you sure this works and that they don't charge you for the full amount later?

Thanks again

 

Just noticed this - and nearly misunderstood because you use the words "legal insurance" which translates to me like "REchtsschutzversicherung"... silly me, of course you mean a fully legally compliant insurance, right? Ok, here you go:

a 40year old male in normal health could get the cheapest legally possible German private insurance in the market for 79 EUR per month and change. This would, however, only be available to EU citizen. For an Expat from outside the EU in the same predicament, the cheapest possible solution would be around 145 EUR per month, unless he/she already has an unlimited residence permit (because only people with a Niederlassungserlaubnis would be accepted with the first insurance).

 

Cheerio

 

 

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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this is all briliantly informative, thanks for this,..those figures you quoted above though, for a normal healthy 40 year old male, ..is it true that the cheapest equivalent for a female is closer to double that??

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not quite but nearly...

The one tariff (the cheapest on the market still being legal in Germany) would be EUR 120 and change per month for a 40y old woman from an EU memberstate or from outside the EU with an unlimited residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis). The second option for non-EU-Expats with a time-limited residence permit would be around 185 EUR.

 

Glad you like the info, though I must admit it is a wee bit long and tedious to read but I would not know who to cut it any shorter without loosing what I find valuable information...

 

Cheerio

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Wow, now I finally understand why foreign insurances don't work here. I thought it was typical German anti competition. Remember when all phones, fax cards, modems etc had to be zugelassen to be used in Germany?

 

While Starshollow makes a valid criticism re people here for a short term overpaying, the overall principle seems sound socialism. Otherwise people in their 80s and 90s would be paying a fortune for health insurance. Of course if you're completely anti socialism its not sound at all!

 

Of your many excellent articles, I think this one takes the biscuit for right timing, clarity despite obsessive detail, and sure good honest essential information.

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yes i agree essentially its a good system and a good way of covering health costs, but it still bites when you are a low income foreigner trying to live in Germany and being used to a good ol NHS back-up plan :-)

And again thanks heaps for taking the time to spell it out to us Starshollow!!Very useful important info.!

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Forgive me if I misunderstood your post Starshollow, but if I have ALC insurance as a non-EU citizen with a freelance visa, and then I change to a job contract with health insurance on the German system, public or private, I would still be liable for these back penalty charges? I was told that ALC met the German requirements for insurance.

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As someone sold the aLC insurance I'd be interested in a clarification too.

 

I'd also be interested in further information regarding:

 

 

similar rule applies for self-employed persons moving within the EU. They, too, according to European Community Regulations 883/2004, 987/2009can apply for a form A1 and thus get exempted from joining the German system for up to two years while still be covered by the national systems.

I'm wondering, as a freelance EU citizen, why I have been paying aLC for the last two years since moving from the UK.

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Forgive me if I misunderstood your post Starshollow, but if I have ALC insurance as a non-EU citizen with a freelance visa, and then I change to a job contract with health insurance on the German system, public or private, I would still be liable for these back penalty charges? I was told that ALC met the German requirements for insurance.

 

The first problem here is that some of the immigration offices are out of sync, so to speak, with the development in the health insurance laws. While in some states and cities you would not have gotten your initial residence permit based on an international health insurance, in other states and cities that is still possible. Sometimes it is also a problem that people received their last/initial residence permit still in 2008 or early in 2009 when the law was not entirely clear to everyone and thus the Ausländeramt accepted this insurance while now they suddenly reject it. But the residence permit/visa issue is seperated from what happens if you get a job with public health insurance or with private German health insurance (because employers will usually not accept ALC insurance or any other international insurances because they can't write their share of costs of tax wise).

So, while the immigration office may have accepted your current insurance, none of the public or private insurances I know will do so and thus will back-charge you if you switch over. I have heard that ALC may have a deal with the ALLIANZ (because a subsidiary of ALLIANZ is underwriting the ALC policies) for a move over w/o penalty payments, but I don't know for sure.

I am also aware that ALC is convinced to be legal tender in Germany. I have argued with them in the past and basically stopped offering them - even though I think they are by far the best international insurance on the market - for that reason since summer 2009, except in very limited cases where nothing else would work anyway. According to the legal framework shown above I con't see how they can be considered to be a fully substitutive insurance in Germany, only as a supplementary insurance besides or on top a German public or private insurance.

 

 

As someone sold the aLC insurance I'd be interested in a clarification too.

I'm wondering, as a freelance EU citizen, why I have been paying aLC for the last two years since moving from the UK.

 

Well, as far as I know from our old mail conversations which I just checked you received some initial advice in 2008 from someone other than me and went with an international health insurance right away. I can't say why it was never discussed that you may or may not have been able to get yourself an exemption to contribute in Germany to any insurance for the first two years at all. The information is available now quite well on the NHS website for everyone who want to gather some information before moving abroad (see my link above in the article) but I can't say if this was already there and easily accessible in 2008. It is also not exactly common knowledge... I think I read somewhere that you can apply for this also ex-post, but not sure how much after you went abroad and how this plays itself out. There might be other good reasons why you would never have received this exemption in the first place which - because it would concern private information I have about you - I would not like to spread out here obviously without your consent.

In contrast to the other OP above who is from outside the EU you'd have also had the choice to go with public insurance in Germany, but that would probably have been a cost-nightmare right from the beginning. Which is also why now a switch to public would not exactly advisable because with two persons with own income you would pay at least 311 EUR per person and month now AND for all the months back to 2008 as penalty back-charges. So, I would rather recommend to aim for private insurance coverage as explained above in order to reduce back-charges as much as possible. Since you are EU citizen there may be even other ways around the back-charges, but that, too, is nothing I would like to disclose in public because it touches on legal grey zones... hope you understand.

 

I like ALC a lot and think it is a great health insurance - but it is my firm opinion that not even ALC can be considered a substitutive private health insurance for residents in Germany. Sorry.

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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I like ALC a lot and think it is a great health insurance - but it is my firm opinion that not even ALC can be considered a substitutive private health insurance for residents in Germany. Sorry.

 

For what it's worth, another reliable TT broker who's met with Minister Dr. Rösler begs to differ...

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I am also with ALC and I am guessing from the same broker as Circuits, also being told it complies. In fact, to quote from his email when we were considering insurance possibilities and he was discussing international insurances:

"Currently ONLY A La Carte is both pass-ported AND complies with the general requirements of the German authorities."

Is this now incorrect?

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I can't say why it was never discussed that you may or may not have been able to get yourself an exemption to contribute in Germany to any insurance for the first two years at all. The information is available now quite well on the NHS website for everyone who want to gather some information before moving abroad (see my link above in the article) but I can't say if this was already there and easily accessible in 2008.

 

Unfortunately the link you provided is broken. Looking around the www.nhs.uk website I can't find the information, though there are lots of posts from people who are also frustrated about not finding it or able to get advice. If anybody has discovered a link to information about NHS cover for two years, then I think a lot of Brits planning to move to Germany would be grateful for it. (for me though, it is probably too late).

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HI Circuit - I would open a big bottle if I could get a statement from a highranking official in black and white who would say that I am wrong. But if you read thru the legal reasoning above step by step you will see that it is conclusive and correct. No health insurance which is only a "Sachversicherung" can be a legal replacement/substitute of the German public insurances. I think that much is clear, plus the lack of offering a BASIS tariff which would be rightly considered to be unfair competition by any German private insurance company if other health insurances could offer their services in Germany without sharing in this financial burden...

 

I don't know who met BM Rössler when, where and how. Hearsay is for good reason not admissable in courts... but if anyone can get the ministry of health to issue a clear statement that international health insurances are legally entirely ok, I would offer a big kiss, tongue or no tongue your choice :P

 

No, honestly: I know that there are some representatives from international health insurances active here in Germany who have been and still may be of a different opionion. They usually take the point of view that a health insurance which is licensed in other EU coutries cannot be simply barred or banned from offering their business in Germany. And this point of view is entirely correct... and nobody says that they cannot offer their services, either. International Health insurances can offer their insurance tariffs in Germany - but only as supplementary insurance, not as substitutive coverage in lieu of the coverage of public health insurances.

 

If the opposite was true then all the German private and public health insurances would be wrong (a lot of collective legal minds sitting there) in levying these back-charges and hundreds if not thousands of ExPats could claim the money for the back-charges paid back. That would be great... but, alas, I don't see that happening.

 

So, if someone has clear and indisputable and legal evidence that an international health insurance can fully replace the coverage for public health insurance in Germany like the German private health insurances I would be more than glad. But I can't see how this is legally possible, except with the exemptions for people who live in Germany only temporarily, i.e. non-EU ExPats with tourist visa, working holiday visa etc. and EU citizens based on secondement as explained above.

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Unfortunately the link you provided is broken. Looking around the www.nhs.uk website I can't find the information, though there are lots of posts from people who are also frustrated about not finding it or able to get advice. If anybody has discovered a link to information about NHS cover for two years, then I think a lot of Brits planning to move to Germany would be grateful for it. (for me though, it is probably too late).

 

Serenissima: I try to reestablish the link within the next minutes...

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If anybody has discovered a link to information about NHS cover for two years

I believe this is not "NHS cover" but the UK paying for your cover in Germany. There are people on this site that appear to have take up that op, or variants of it (sometimes associated with unemployment claims). They seem to end up in AOK. I suppose that the UK government cannot really offer definitive advice is that, for one, people's circumstances vary and, for two, it's not down to it to nanny us through our life choices.

 

(What the NHS site says is: "....if you move to Germany to live but not work and do not receive a UK benefit, you may be eligible for up to two-and-a-half years of state healthcare cover, paid for by the UK. In this case, you will need to apply for an E106"). (My bold).

 

The other key thing about starshollow's post is that - of course - it nails the myth based on the US / UK paradigm that private insruance premiums will rocket as we age. Not true at all in my experience. We get some equalisation too.

 

PS - That link may be broken but the relevant form (CA3837) is perfectly easy to search for on the HMRC site. I dont think starshollow needs to find it for us.

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I am also with ALC and I am guessing from the same broker as Circuits, also being told it complies. In fact, to quote from his email when we were considering insurance possibilities and he was discussing international insurances:

"Currently ONLY A La Carte is both pass-ported AND complies with the general requirements of the German authorities."

Is this now incorrect?

 

as explained above: ALC is in my opinion top among the international health insurances. It is certainly passported by the British or Irish authorities to offer insurance services in Germany, no doubt about this either. But as said above, according to the legal definitions of what constitutes a substitutive health insurance, i.e. a health insurance the German authorities deem to fulfill all requirements to replace the coverage from public health insurance, it can't be a substitutive health insurance and I know currently of no German public health insurance or German private health insurance that would publicly declare that they would waive the penalty back-charges if someone switches over from any international health insurance including ALC to a German public or private health insurance. That alone is a major lackmus test to show how the legal situation is. There have been cases of individual bargaining and negotiation with certain German health insurances to squeeze people in without these back-charges, but this was, when it happened, entirely based on goodwill and not something one can bank on. I, for instance, was able to strike a deal with someone internally at a major German private health insuruance to accept people in who lived for at least more than a year in Germany and with a decent enough international health insurance without back-charges. That worked from Nov 09 til summe 10 when suddenly the same insurance made a full turn and rejected such cases for the future. As do all the others...

 

So, in my professional opinion the phrase above is correct as long as it does not state that the insurance is used alone as a substitute for German public insurances like a German private health insurance. In the latter case, the statement would not be correct according to my knowledge and legal understanding.

 

But as said above: I would love to be successfully challenged on that. I'd love to see someone sending me or publishing here a legally binding statement from the relevant highest German authorities (BAFIN or Bundesministerium für Gesundheit) that a certain or all international health insurances are fully acceptable as substitutive health insurances under German law....

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Just a quickie. What on earth is the point of supplementary insurance i.e. having a usable foreign insurance, and a German insurance for compliance? Are there so many things not covered by German insurance?

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Forgive me if I misunderstood your post Starshollow, but if I have ALC insurance as a non-EU citizen with a freelance visa, and then I change to a job contract with health insurance on the German system, public or private, I would still be liable for these back penalty charges? I was told that ALC met the German requirements for insurance.

 

you have been kind enough to send me/us an email which claryfies something with regards to your legal status in Germany and which is so relevant that I want to make this point public, too, right here:

 

if someone from outside the EU is living based on a tourist visa or working holiday visa or something along this line in Germany and not yet based on a full residence permit (usually in conncetion with a work permit) than indeed an international health insurance or a good travel health insurance (like the ExPat insurances offered by HanseMerkur and DKV, for instance) is your only legal and practical choice because NO German private health insurance will accept you in until you either are in the process of applying for a full residence permit or already got one. This also means - and I got this recently after some fights from a major private German health insurance which is usually the best or even only choice for non-EU-newcomer ExPats with not much of a budget to enter into German private health insurance - that somoene who comes out of a tourist visa after several months will not be back-charged! Because if you live in Germany based on a tourist visa or the likes, you can't be legally considered to be a "resident" yet in Germany, you are only a guest.

 

therefore in your case, as far as I understand it now, offering you ALC was the right and best choice but if and when you want to move towards freelancing and thus require a different permit status, you need to move on to a German private health insurances instead.

 

Cheerio

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