Unemployment ALG 1 - switching from private to public health insurance

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I will become unemployed as 1 February 2020 and I’m eligible and currently applying for ALG I.   The key topic left to decide on the ALG I application is whether to continue with private health insurance (PKV) or to switch to public health insurance (GKV).   I read various health insurance related posts on TT and the internet though could not find all the answers needed. 


I’m privately insured for 5 years+ with two young children co-insured with me.   I expect to be above the threshold for voluntary health insurance when back at work – though it may take half year or more to be back in employment due to my specialization, language limitations and planned parental leave.  My wife is on parental leave right now and does not plan to go back to work for the next 1.5 years or so. 


I’m leaning towards switching back to public insurance as there seem to be no difference in the services we use (esp. for kids) and I understand that public health insurance is likely to work out better in the long run for families our size / single-source income  (for now PKV is still 130eur per month cheaper vs maximum GKV). I also understand I could purchase the right to return to PKV after unemployment (Anwartschaftsversicherung) – though currently I see a cost side only with not much benefit – but maybe I’m missing something here?


Now I’m looking for an advice / direction from TT contributors on below open questions that would help to decide on the private vs public option.   I’d appreciate also pointing other considerations or gaps in my current understanding.   Open questions:


  1. Coverage for Private KV by Agentur for Arbeit (AA) – is it correct that if I’m ALG 1 eligible and stay privately insured,  AA will pay the full KV and PPV contributions – i.e. both employee and employer parts – as long as it is under the maximum threshold (80% of GKV)?


  2. GKV selection – in practice, is it free to sign up with GKV of choice (e.g. Techniker – where I was prior to private), or you likely end up with AOK assigned by the AA?


  3. Parental leave – I still would like to take two-month parental leave in Q2’20 that was long in planning. Firstly, would I need to pay health insurance contributions during elternzeit myself, or are these paid by the Agentur for Arbeit? Secondly, is there any difference in the health insurance pay support by AA if I stay in PKV or switch to GKV?

   Looking forward to your insights and advice.


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if you go back to public health insurance - which can be a viable option indeed - just make sure you'll turn your existing private health insurance into an "Anwartschaft" in the process of giving notice. That way and for a small monthly fee only you can get back into private health insurance without additional health check-ups or additional health-risk-costs at a later point in time in case you'll find out that private health insurance is actually the better choice. Especially for the children, I would also advise looking into the questions whether any orthodontic treatments could be coming up in the next years as the public health insurance offers only scant to no coverage for that and you'd be needing to fork out some serious money if you don't have private coverage for that.




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