Is German Public Health Insurance compulsory for retirees living abroad?

32 posts in this topic

Hello everyone, I'm back with an urgent question!

First of all, a big wave. As many of you know, I retired to Ireland last year. I started out living in a room in a comfortable B&B with a lovely Irish couple in the coutryside; it saved money and also I had a bad hip and didn't want the responsibility for a home of my own. Also it gave me time to figure out how and where I really wanted to live.

I moved into a nice brand new rented flat in town last month and all is well. My son had moved in with me and has a start up business, my daughter lives over the border in NI with husband and baby girl, and at the moment my other granddaughter is here on holiday. So all's well.

 

But I'm having the usual problems with the Barmer.

I'm still with them; they covered me automatically when I moved to Ireland.

My income is as follows:

The bulk of it is a widow's pension paid through the Versorgungsamt B.-W. Then I have my normal pension which is about 500€, and two other tiny pensions from Germany. And a tiny pension from the UK.

 

I also have quarterly income from the sale of my books, which at the moment is quite good, at least as much  (annually) as all the pensions put together (but varies from year to year). The Barmer is still trying to work out how much my monthy Beitraege should be -- I didn't have to pay a single Beitrag last year as they are still figuring it out. One day I'll get a fat bill.

 

 

I've been tax resident in Ireland since 1.1.18. I have an Irish accountant who is doing my taxes for that year; that is, my taxes from my self-employment.

 

Last November I went to India for three months. This was soon after I had my hip operation and was part of my recovery. At this point I wrote the Barmer cancelling my insurance. I never heard back for them about this, not even after two reminders,

 

(In 2017 I also went to India for three months. I was able to cancel my insurance immediately  for that time, and join back when I returned to Germany, so that I didn;t have to pay Beitraege while abroad. It all adds up after all.)

 

Anyway. I wrote Barmer again recently, confirming once again my cancellation. They informed me I had to be in the German system in order to be covered by the Irish public system.

 

I replied that, after a year, all residents of Ireland are automatically in the Irish system (HSE) and thus I don't need German insurance any more. The HSE isn't too good, it's slow and cumbersome and doesn't cover everything like the NHS, but it's free and it'll do for me as I also get German Beihilfe and I have a small Irish private insurance. No need to pay Barmer a couple hundred a month.

 

Today they wrote back, as follows:

 

...fuer einen in einem anderen Mitgliedstaat wohnenden Rentner, der nur eine Rente aus der deutschen gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung bezieht, gelten die deutschen Rechtsvorschriften ueber die Krankenversicherung, wenn man keinen eigenen Leistungsanspruch im WOhnstaat hat

 

Ein Anspruch (...) aufgrund des Wohnens, wie es bei Ihnen der Fall ist, ist nachrangig.

 

Bezugnehmend auf Ihre Schreiben vom 17.08.19 teile ich Ihnen mit, dass bei Ihnen, da sie kein Einkommen durch eine Beschaeftigung oder durch eine Rente in Irland haben, weiterhin die deutschen Rechtsvorschriften gelten und sie Weiterhin in Deutschland bei der Barmer versichert sind.

 

In other words, I'm not allowed to cancel my insurance policy? How can this be? they make such a fuss about accepting people; can they really force you to stay in if you live abroad and don't want to and have other arrangements?

 

I did a bit of googling and found this:

 

 

Bei Rentnern, die sich für ein Leben im Ausland entschieden haben, besteht in der Regel keine Versicherungspflicht bei der deutschen Krankenversicherung und Pflegeversicherung für Rentner. Entscheidend ist, in welches Land der Senior seinen neuen Wohnsitz verlegt.

Befindet sich der Wohnsitz innerhalb der EU oder in einem Staat des Europäischen Wirtschaftsraumes oder der Schweiz, kann der Senior solange in der deutschen Kranken- und Pflegeversicherung versichert bleiben, wie er Rente aus Deutschland bezieht.

 

So, it is "kann", not "muss"...???

 

Grateful for all help and advice. Sorry this is so long. German Papierkrieg as usual...

 

(Edited to add: I do indeed have a "Beschaeftigung in Irland". I am a writer and get income from this; although not paid from Ireland but from the UK.)

 

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I have, of course, no helpful information; but I want to say how nice it is to hear from you!

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25 minutes ago, arunadasi said:

So, it is "kann", not "muss"...???

 

Always a complicated subject, in case they miss your thread, ask one of our resident experts, like Starshollow, PandaMunich or John_g. 

Good luck and nice to see you here again. :) 

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Thank you! I have missed TT but so much has been going on here, what with operation, wedding, birth of baby, India, moving home, etc, I have hardly had time to take a breath!

 

 

(Oh, and Brexit naturally!)

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yes, I have messaged Panda and I'm hoping she'll pop in. She's saved me a pretty penny on many occasions, and she'd up to her tricks again with a PM she sent me earlier this year!

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2 hours ago, arunadasi said:

 

 

...fuer einen in einem anderen Mitgliedstaat wohnenden Rentner, der nur eine Rente aus der deutschen gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung bezieht, gelten die deutschen Rechtsvorschriften ueber die Krankenversicherung, wenn man keinen eigenen Leistungsanspruch im WOhnstaat hat

 

 

 

 

Do I understand this wrong or does this not apply to you? You don’t just get a German state pension; you also get a UK state pension so I’d think the underlined part is not applicable. 

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Yes, I do get a small UK pension, as well as Witwengeld from the Versorgungsamt Baden-Wuerttemberg, and money earned through work I do in Ireland. It's exactly  this I'm trying to figure out. What does that "nur" mean?

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Glad to hear that you seem very happy in Ireland.

 

Have you thought about contacting SOLVIT?

 

SOLVIT is a service provided by the national administration in each EU country and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. SOLVIT is free of charge. It is mainly an online service. Although there is a SOLVIT centre in each country, the best way to contact them is via this website.

 

SOLVIT aims to find solutions within 10 weeks – starting on the day your case is taken on by the SOLVIT centre in the country where the problem occurred.

 

Unfair rules or decisions and discriminatory red tape can make it hard for you to live, work or do business in another EU country.

 

So, if you as an EU citizen or business face extra obstacles in another country because a public authority isn't doing what is required under EU law SOLVIT can help.

 

SOLVIT reminds the authorities in question what your EU rights are and works with them to solve your problem.

 

https://ec.europa.eu/solvit/index_en.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sounds like you're a mandatory member of German public health insurance by virtue of being in the KVdR: https://www.finanztip.de/gkv/krankenversicherung-der-rentner/

This happens automatically if you spent a Vorversicherungszeit of more than 90% of the 2nd half of your worklife in an EU public health insurance (did you?) and draw a pension from DRV (you do).

 

You could well have fulfilled that Vorversicherungszeit in EU public health insurance, after all you lived in the UK (so that time counts, the NHS being public health insurance) and by having had 2 kids, you automatically got 6 years of public health insurance that count as being in the 2nd half of your worklife, even though they were born in the 1st half: http://www.finanztip.de/gkv/krankenversicherung-der-rentner/

  • Mit der Reform des Heil- und Hilfsmittelgesetzes gilt seit 1. August 2017 außerdem eine neue Regelung zur Vorversicherungszeit. Jeder Versicherte erhält pauschal pro Kind drei Jahre als Vorversicherungszeit angerechnet, unabhängig von der Krankenversicherung des Ehe- oder Lebenspartners (§5 Abs. 2 Satz 3 SGB V). Dabei kommt es nicht darauf an, wer das Kind betreut hat. Jedes Elternteil erhält drei Jahre pro Kind angerechnet. Zu den Kindern zählen auch Adoptivkinder, Pflegekinder und Stiefkinder. Die Zeiten werden automatisch der zweiten Hälfte des Erwerbslebens zugerechnet, auch wenn die Kinder früher geboren wurden.

    Besonders für Partner von privat Krankenversicherten ist dies eine Verbesserung. Es profitieren vor allem Frauen von Beamten, Richtern oder Selbstständigen. Denn viele von ihnen waren während der Erziehungszeit nicht gesetzlich krankenversichert und erfüllten mitunter deswegen nicht die erforderliche Vorversicherungszeit. Das neue Gesetz schließt diese Lücke.

 

If you're in the KVdR, then Barmer is right and you would have to move over the border to Northern Ireland to get rid of them - after all, only then would you also get a pension from your new Wohnsitzstaat (UK) which means that Barmer would no longer be able to offer you health insurance in your new Wohnsitzstaat via the Sachleistungsaushilfe (since that's only allowed if you don't get a pension from the new Wohnsitzstaat).

Sachleistungsaushilfe means that your home country's public health insurance picks up the tab for your medical costs in your new country, and the promise to do that is the form S1, see for example a description of this Sachleistungsaushilfe on the NHS web site (but from their point of view, i.e. if a Brit pensioner moves to another EU country): https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/moving-abroad/planning-your-healthcare/

  • If you are living in an EEA country or Switzerland and you receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form.

    However, if, in addition to your UK pension, you also receive a pension from the country in which you now live, that country will be responsible for your healthcare and an S1 will not be applicable. If you receive your UK pension as well as a pension from an EU member state, but are now living in a different EU state, the country to which you paid contributions toward your pension for the longest period becomes responsible for your healthcare.

Sachleistungsaushilfe explained in a German publication, see page 25 in this brochure: https://www.der-paritaetische.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Publikationen/doc/Broschuere_A4_gesundheit-unionsbuerger_web.pdf

 

*************************************

 

By the way, Beschäftigung is clearly defined and means being an employee, not being self-employed, §7 (1) SGB IV: https://www.sozialgesetzbuch-sgb.de/sgbiv/7.html

 

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aaaargh!

I fought for ages to be in the KVdR, in the Pflichtversicherung -- they had me as Freiwillige and I was able to prove the 90% rule.

It's not  a problem for me to "move" to the UK as my daughter lives there and a couple of my banks are registered there. It's like a 2. Wohnsitz as I often overnight with her.

Do you think I might be able to claim it backdated as my WOhnsitz?

 

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31 minutes ago, arunadasi said:

Thanks White Rose. I shall contact [SOLVIT] today.

 

Wouldn’t that be pointless?

 

Quote

If you're in the KVdR, then Barmer is right and you would have to move over the border to Northern Ireland to get rid of them

 

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Welcome back arundasi, hope you're getting on well in Ireland.

 

You look much younger than 60 in your profile photo ;-) but I found this info on the nurse's union website, saying EU over 60s may be eligible for a medical card.

 

https://www.inmo.ie/Article/PrintArticle/6551

 

I would suggest applying for a medical card in any case, it covers a lot of basic stuff.

 

https://www2.hse.ie/services/medical-cards/medical-card-application-process/what-a-medical-card-covers.html

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26 minutes ago, arsenal21 said:

Welcome back arundasi, hope you're getting on well in Ireland.

 

You look much younger than 60 in your profile photo ;-) but I found this info on the nurse's union website, saying EU over 60s may be eligible for a medical card.

 

https://www.inmo.ie/Article/PrintArticle/6551

 

I would suggest applying for a medical card in any case, it covers a lot of basic stuff.

 

https://www2.hse.ie/services/medical-cards/medical-card-application-process/what-a-medical-card-covers.html

 

 

The photo in my profile is from 2017, taken on holiday in Sri Lanka! I'm a bit older now, going on 68. I'll update it soon.

 

I have a medical card, but it is because of my Barmer insurance. I would not be eligible if I did not have the German insurance, as it is income based and I'm above the threshold.

But I wouldn't need one, as I have Irish medical insurance as well as Beihilfe.

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32 minutes ago, Smaug said:

 

Wouldn’t that be pointless?

 

 

 

Maybe; I'll see what they say. Maybe they know ways around it. Otherwise officially moving to NI seems the only option.

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1 hour ago, arunadasi said:

Do you think I might be able to claim it backdated as my Wohnsitz?

 

Not really, after all up till now you have been telling Barmer that you live in the Republic of Ireland, and they have been writing you letters to that address.

 

So I can only see this working with effect from the future.

Expect additional problems to get Barmer to accept that there is no Meldesystem in the UK, so you will not be able to send them an Anmeldebescheinigung to "prove" your move to the UK.

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Thanks Panda. I see more headaches coming my way! I'll get through this too.

I think they know by now there is no Meldebescheinigung -- but I do have official letters addressed to me there.

 

Or maybe I just move "officially" back to Guyana -- I do still have property there. Going there in September.

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3 hours ago, arunadasi said:

 

 

The photo in my profile is from 2017, taken on holiday in Sri Lanka! I'm a bit older now, going on 68. I'll update it soon.

 

I have a medical card, but it is because of my Barmer insurance. I would not be eligible if I did not have the German insurance, as it is income based and I'm above the threshold.

But I wouldn't need one, as I have Irish medical insurance as well as Beihilfe.

Correct me if I'm wrong but the medical card will cover a lot of stuff that Irish health insurance will not e.g. cost of GP visits, so that could be a plus point for keeping the Barmer insurance.

 

You might be automatically eligible for a card on reaching 70 anyway.

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GP visits are €50.

I get Beihilfe, so I am reimbursed 80% of all my medical costs. I also have private Irish health coverage which also covers GP visits plus hospital care -- I am totally overinsured at the moment!!!! That's why I want to ditch the Barmer.

 

 

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