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Health insurance arrears

9 posts in this topic

Hello,

 

Before anyone tells me to search related threads, I already have; thoroughly.

 

When I first moved to Germany I went straight into employment with an English teaching company, my boss organized the insurance of which he paid half and I paid half, as is the norm in Germany. I worked there in North Germany for 6 months before finishing employment there in order to head to Berlin to work on a freelance basis. The error I made was in assuming that when I terminated my contract in North Germany my health insurance would also be terminated by default. At least I wasn't concerned with it because in any case I knew that if I was still paying then I'd receive some correspondence or would still be able to observe the insurance fees being deducted from my bank account. Neither of these things occurred which reinforced my original assumption, as far as I was concerned I had no insurance save for my European health insurance card (EHIC).

 

I registered my address as soon as I arrived in Berlin, so the insurance company can have no excuse for not contacting me. Six months have elapsed since moving. Last week I received a letter from the health insurance company demanding I pay the 4900 euros I owe. What's happened here is upon leaving the company in North Germany the insurance company hiked my insurance up to a premium rate (circa 780 per month). I have a very humble wage, I earn 600 euros or so per month on average, I have no means of paying this phantom 4900 euro amount.

 

I am leaving Germany in a fortnight with this financial shock hanging over my head. I'm quite fearful of what will happen here, and besides some ignorance on my part with regards to health insurance laws in Germany, I feel I have done nothing wrong. I would only ever want to do the right thing for myself and operate within the laws of the country I reside in.

 

Does anyone know what my options are in this scenario? I would be very grateful for any insight from people with some knowledge. For instance what would the repercussions be if, hypothetically, a person in this situation was to close up shop and return to their native country without paying the astronomical arrears?

 

Many thanks,

 

Tom

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Did you receive a Bescheingung zur Sozialversicherung - Abmeldung from you employer when you left the company?

 

Without knowing the full details it seems that you Krankenkasse has classed you as freiwilligversichert as you are now working as a freelancer and they had no information from you that you had insured yourself elswhere. In my opinion the best thing to do is to talk this over personally with someone from your Krankenkasse.

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The amount stated by the Krankenkasse was probably calculated from your last salary. As you are now earning less than before this needs to be taken into consideration by the Krankenkasse. Your Krankenkasse will need proof of your income and also how many hours you work in order to be able to assess how much health insurance you should pay. Ask about the "Mindestbemessungsgrundlagen" this is for people who have a low income.

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I can't tell you what will happen to you if you don't pay it (whether they will follow up with a collection agency, and additional fines). But I do believe the amount is too high, and that if you talk to the KK in advance, the amount will be lowered to reflect the status you've been on (as long as you have the paperwork to prove that)...so, given that there IS a risk of being chased up, it would seem better to talk to them and pay the lower amount (because if they chase you up later, it will be much more difficult to then talk to them and get the amount lowered retrospectively).

 

A couple of your opinins posted however seem incorrect - that the KK has no excuse for not finding you sooner is incorrect. The least you would have had to do would be confirm with your health insurance that it was ending automatically before leaving your old job/town - and then you would have found out that it doesn't). To reside in Germany, you must by law have Bafin-approved health insurance - even if you are not working at all. Ignorance of the law is unfortunately never an excuse for not complying with it.

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I know of a German woman who cancelled her KK payments and went to live and work

abroad.

On her return she did not get herself insured again (I think this is illegal anyway) - but

then eventually found a "mini-job". A mini-job includes health insurance - so she had to sign up and was then hit with a hefty bill for the time she was uninsured...

Someone drafted a letter for her asking for "Kulanz" from the KK and she was given a long time to pay the debt off in instalments.

It's a pain when you get caught in this...

I suspect (seeing the amount involved) the KK will chase you for this in the UK should you try to do a "flit".

Gesetzliche Krankenkassen are semi-public bodies and may well be able to chase you through reciprocal agreements with the UK DWP.

(I noticed that when I changed my address here and notified my Krankenkasse - they shared this info. with the UK DWP.).

 

You need to get someone to write a letter in excellent German for you, explaining the score in detail.

You would be well-advised to oome to an arrangement and eventually pay the debt off slowly (hopefully a much reduced amount).

Incidentally your UK EHIC only covers short non-working visits.

You are were taking a bit risk being here uninsured - if you were in an accident or became seriously sick

you would be personally liable for the bill...

(This happended to me before I knew the ropes).

 

And also do not think on going back to the UK you are automatically entitled to NHS treatment - apart from emergencies .

You need to prove you are a permanent resident...

However if you have been not overlong out of the UK you will still be on your GP's "list" and hence on the NHS central register - so no probs.

If you are going back to different area in the UK from the one you left - be sure to register sharpish with a GP.

If there are any problems - best to get it sorted out before you need medical help!

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Dear me, Mercure...many posters have it right here: your payments to be collected are too high..you could have been assessed on your actual earnings and not on those as an employee. So talk to them about that and prove your earnings.

 

Again , people, and this is daily: stop being naive. It´s up to YOU to check your situation. Mercure: it´s not up to the health insurance provider - whether public or private - to check whether you´ve moved. There is NO NHS here.

 

Same with leaving the country: YOU have to prove your Abmeldung / deregistration from Germany to get out of a health insurance contract whether public or private. Same with bloody mobile phone contracts etc..

 

I will repeat something: a client of ours left the country suddenly a couple of years ago without formally letting his private insurance company know and provide his deregistration paper. He now owes over 12,000 euros and he´s not in the country. I don´t know where he is but get a monthly statement from his insurance company.

They don´t mess about here.

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Thank you all very much for your help and advice. I've heeded your input and last night my housemate kindly spent hours writing a letter in good German on my behalf, complete with bank statements since I've been in Berlin. I really hope they show clemency here, I've humbled myself whilst making the point that I've only made 532 euros per month on average in Berlin leaving 252 after rent; considering they've asked for 750 euros or so per month I hope they can see my complete inability to pay. Once again thanks. I've got my fingers crossed and thumbs pressed for myself!

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For anyone who finds themselves in a similar position the result is as follows. The health insurance company thanked me for trusting in them (rather than becoming a debt fugitive), and have kindly asked me to pay 922 euros for the period from Sept 2013 - mid Feb 2014. Quite fair I believe given their original demands. So that works out as circa 170 euros per month, certainly not the cheapest option for an ignorant, low-earning freelancer like myself, but I don't think this way I've squandered too much money. Does anyone know of one of the cheapest rates for freelance health insurance? Surely it has to be minimum 100 per month?

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Private health insurance is based on your age and current health status. There are no "rates" to speak of. Send a PM to John_g or Starshollow to find out what your options are.

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