Voluntary (Freiwillig) health insurance

7 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

I just received a letter from my health insurance company informing me that I have become "Freiwillig versichert" (if there is such thing as been "voluntarily" insured in Germany). I am insured publicly (Gesetzlich).

 

It seems that my employer has told my health insurer that in 2011 I will earn more than the limit for compulsory insurance. So now my health insurance has switched me to Freiwillig.

 

Does anyone know the implications of this change? I was never asked by my employer if I wanted this change, so it is not really "voluntary".

 

Should I be worried about possible consequences like having to pay higher insurance premiums? I read an old posting in this forum stating that as "Freiwillig" one needs to pay the medical bills first and then claim back the money from the insurance company, which if true, sounds to me like a bad deal for the insured as insurance companies tend to pay according to their "customary fees" rather than the actual fees. Does anyone know if this is true?

 

What happens to the amount previously contributed by my employer. It seems that I am now responsible for it. Does this mean my insurance payment has almost doubled or will I receive from my employer the money that they previously paid directly to the insurance company?

 

Last question, since I was never asked for this change, can I decline to be "Freiwillig" or is it something forced by law?

 

Thank you in advance to those that reply!

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If you are freiwillig gesetzlich versichert, nothing really changes for you. One advantage is that you could change to a private insurance if you wanted to, but you don't have to.

 

Regarding pre-payments for medical costs - you don't need to worry about it if you stay with a public insurance company (AOK, Barmer, TKK, just to name a few). The prepayment only applies if you go for a privat insurance. Your employer will still roughly pay half of your premium and would do so if you decide to go for privat health insurance. You would get a document from the privat insurance company, stating how much the premiums for 2011 would be and you forward this letter to your employer. They then will pay their half of the premium with your salary into your account and then the privat insurance company will take the whole premium from your account.

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This happened to me recently too and nothing changes at all as far as I'm aware. It just means that you could have the option of going private but your employer HR should be able to clarify it in more detail if required.

 

Edit: As Zefix said above more eloquently and with more detail!

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Don´t worry, Strakurinn! All it means is: you are free to choose whether you want to stay in German public health insurance or decide whether private health insurance is better for you! No higher premiums, no nightmares , no problems! Your employer will continue to pay their part - you will, too. " Freiwillig " has nothing to do with paying bills and claiming the money back!

You are NOT responsible for the employer contributions! Your insurance payment has NOT doubled! It HASN´T changed!

Last question answered: you can´t decline to be " freiwillig " - it´s irrelevant, anyway.

My question: what´s better for you? What are your circumstances? Maybe private health insurance, maybe not.

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Guys thank you for your quick answers!

 

John, I have look into the public vs private question before but in my case it makes more sense to me the public one, I have family and kids... thanks for mentioning it though.

 

 

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Strakurinn: good, no worries! Family and kids solves the problem! Stay public and maybe think about possible extras - dental insurance, better hospital cover etc. The main thing: don´t worry about the change of status with freiwillig etc. Cuídate! ( Take care!)

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I read an old posting in this forum stating that as "Freiwillig" one needs to pay the medical bills first and then claim back the money from the insurance company, which if true, sounds to me like a bad deal for the insured as insurance companies tend to pay according to their "customary fees" rather than the actual fees. Does anyone know if this is true?

From my experience, the private insurers tend to pay the actual fees, as long as you haven't special wishes not covered by your insurance. But these for sure wouldn't be covered by a public insurance either.

 

Whether being privately or publicly insured is a better deal very much depends on your age, health, whether you're married and whether your partner is employed, on children and on what you want from the insurance.

 

If you're a young, healthy single, you'll pay less for a private insurance than in a public one. On the other hand, the public insurance will cover your family without additional costs while the private insurance won't. If you got a health issue prior to entering a private insurance, you'll pay a premium.

 

The private insurance also offers in many cases better service, including free choice of doctors and less bureaucratic hassle. If you haven't got anything serious, it might be the better deal not to hand in the fees you paid during the year but to get one or several months of payments back. On the other hand, in old age the fees go up in the private insurance and you can't switch back to public insurance anymore.

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