Retiring to Germany as a U.S. citizen

101 posts in this topic

 

 

This is Germany. Even the girl who sells you buns has to have a three-years training.

 

I knew that but thanks for reminding me. I had forgotten that very valid point!

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I think that people are suggesting that the residents (if American) would need to be wealthy because they would have to get german approved health insurance in order to get a long term (1 year +) visa. Plus prove that they have sufficient income.

 

It's not that your facility would be so expensive, necessarily, but that the above items would be cost prohibitive for many who would want to stay longer than a 3 month visa would allow.

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I sure wish Old Tymer would have stayed around! I would like to know whatever happened.

 

I posted here in 2007, it's now 2014 and I have been a German citizen for three years! Unfortunately I still don't know how much it would cost for health insurance. I hear all kinds of amounts here on Toytown. I would really like to speak with someone who knows what they are talking about. I no longer need a visa to live in Germany, but I still need to meet the other requirements such as income, and insurance.

 

Since I am now a citizen, I don't know just how that would change things. I can't seem to get a straight answer. Whether I would get my insurance through the government, or whether I would get it privately. Since I never paid into the system. I haven't moved yet, but the time is coming when I will either give up, or go for it. Back then I didn't think I would still be caring for my Mom who is now 93 and could outlive me. I take after my fathers side, having heart problems. Which is another reason I wonder about the cost of healthcare. When I first got my citizenship, I talked to someone from here who was a broker in Berlin. I was quoted at that time, by someone ( information was lost in a computer crash ) for the amount of 199 euro. I was told that because I was on a fixed income, that it was capped at that amount. Unfortunately I don't remember just who I talked to. They had called me by phone from Germany!

 

I just sent old tymer an e'mail. Am hoping I find that he is happily living in Germany, living his dream! :rolleyes:

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The health insurance rules have been changed a few times since this thread was started (although contrary to a common belief among foreigners, the government does not directly insure anyone).

 

Contact Starshollow or John.G for a quote; they are both experts who not only advertise here, but who also frequently provide advice.

 

Theoretically there are 4 options:

 

- public health insurance is only open to those who were previously insured in the EU and their dependents as well as employees under 55 (there is also a special rule for new arrivals for which American retirees usually would not qualify)

- private German health insurance ( however these companies don't want recently arrived foreigners)

- BaFin-approved foreign health insurance (I don't know whether these would be prohibitively expensive)

- the Basistarif for about 700€/month (they have to accept you)

 

Since this thread is about American retirees, I should point out to anyone who doesn't have an EU passport that it is not that easy to obtain a residence permit for Germany "just because I wNt to live here" since the laws were completely rewritten in 2005.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

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The VdK is your best friend to assist you in all matters regarding social security questions

 

http://www.vdk.de/deutschland/pages/der_vdk/23884/vdk_grundpositionen

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Which is another reason I wonder about the cost of healthcare. When I first got my citizenship, I talked to someone from here who was a broker in Berlin. I was quoted at that time, by someone ( information was lost in a computer crash ) for the amount of 199 euro. I was told that because I was on a fixed income, that it was capped at that amount.

 

I am not a specialist in that area - I am just telling you what I understood from reading threads on Toytown and other forums: since they changed the law you can no longer be covered under public insurance (unless you were previously insured publicly) if you are older than 55. So your only option is private health insurance. With preexisting medical conditions this will be difficult and / or expensive. If no private insurance company wants your business all of them are required by law to offer you the "Basistarif" which will only give you a basic level of cover at a premium price (about EUR 700.-). And whatever insurance you have, it must be BAFIN-approved (BAFIN being the authority which oversees the insurance industry). There are travel insurances available (I think for up to 5 years) which are BAFIN-approved and cheaper, but they are no permanent solution and may not cover preexisting conditions (except for emergencies). However, this might be a cheaper option if you decide to come to Germany for let's say a year or so to see how you like it. If you do and want to stay permanently, you will probably have to go for the Basistarif.

 

Another thing possibly worth exploring is whether other EU-countries would accept you in their public insurance. Once you were publicly insured in another EU country for (I think) at least 1 year you'd be admissible to the German public insurance system (the cost of which is about 17.5% of your income, including insurance for the cost of caregiving). So if you could manage to get public insurance in e.g. France for a year you could relocate to Germany after that year and be publicly insured. From what I've read the French healthcare system is quite good and you could choose to spend your time in Germany anyway as there are no more border controls (you'd probably have to keep a residence in France though). Luxembourg might also be an option if language is an issue since at least in the Eastern part of Luxembourg they speak German. Austria might also be worth investigating (living there should feel like living in Germany). But I have no idea about the criteria for getting into public insurance in other countries. I wonder whether there are professional immigration consultants who could help navigate that minefield?

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The health insurance rules have been changed a few times since this thread was started (although contrary to a common belief among foreigners, the government does not directly insure anyone).

 

Contact Starshollow or John.G for a quote; they are both experts who not only advertise here, but who also frequently provide advice.

 

Theoretically there are 4 options:

 

- public health insurance is only open to those who were previously insured in the EU and their dependents as well as employees under 55 (there is also a special rule for new arrivals for which American retirees usually would not qualify)

- private German health insurance ( however these companies don't want recently arrived foreigners)

- BaFin-approved foreign health insurance (I don't know whether these would be prohibitively expensive)

- the Basistarif for about 700€/month (they have to accept you)

 

Since this thread is about American retirees, I should point out to anyone who doesn't have an EU passport that it is not that easy to obtain a residence permit for Germany "just because I wNt to live here" since the laws were completely rewritten in 2005.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

 

Thanks Engelchen!

I sent a pm to starshollow, and am awaiting a reply. I don't want to anger anyone. I am simply trying to get information. I definitely could not afford the Basistarif. If that is my only choice, I'm up a creek.

Yes I know this is thread is about American Retirees. I'm both American and German :rolleyes: So I'm not sure where I stand.

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Thanks jeba!

 

At my age, starting in another country and then moving wouldn't be very practical, even if I could do it. So I won't even pursue that scenario. Like I said to engelchen, since I am both an American citizen as well as a German citizen, I just don't really know where I fit in the scheme of things. A German who has never lived in Germany! :blink: I had hoped that OldTymer was still floating around here somewhere and would see my post.

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I am only in my late twenties, but I already know that I definitely DO NOT want to retire here! That's like my worst nightmare - ending up in a nursing home HERE!They do not have enough caregivers and the conditions, I've heard are not that great. You get what you get out of social healthcare. I know a few people who work as nurses and they don't even want to work in their field anymore due to the great lack of training and fair wages. I can see a lot benefits in Germany though, regarding the healthcare system itself and the overall work to live lifestyle (a nursing home in the US may not be nicer or cheaper), but I would rather retire in the US. My dream would be to own my own property (doesn't have to be much) and die there. I think my life would just be to hectic here. I really do. I see elderly people get out more, but struggle a lot more too. I guess as long as you are healthy and you own your own place it works out alright. I would just miss the sun though. The winters here, can be really hard. A lot of flats are not friendly for elderly folks - maybe if Germany comes up with better living solutions for older folks?! NOT more nursing homes, like actual communities for retirement I think that would be nice. Of course, this is just my narrow perspective. I personally think Mallorca should become the next Florida. I don't have many friends nor do I own any property here, so that might be a reason I just don't feel it would be wise for me, personally. Good luck though! :D

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I had hoped that OldTymer was still floating around here somewhere and would see my post.

 

Why dont you try contacting him via pm?

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- private German health insurance ( however these companies don't want recently arrived foreigners)-

 

I am not saying you are wrong, but that hasn't been at all my experience. The maklers were all over me like starved lions. I was in my early forties when this happened.

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Things have changed a lot in the last couple of years, especially since the government passed a law preventing health insurers for canceling coverage due to non-payment. Now us fuzzy ferriners are automatically an intolerable credit risk.

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I am only in my late twenties, but I already know that I definitely DO NOT want to retire here! That's like my worst nightmare - ending up in a nursing home HERE!They do not have enough caregivers and the conditions, I've heard are not that great. You get what you get out of social healthcare. I know a few people who work as nurses and they don't even want to work in their field anymore due to the great lack of training and fair wages. I can see a lot benefits in Germany though, regarding the healthcare system itself and the overall work to live lifestyle (a nursing home in the US may not be nicer or cheaper), but I would rather retire in the US. My dream would be to own my own property (doesn't have to be much) and die there. I think my life would just be to hectic here. I really do. I see elderly people get out more, but struggle a lot more too. I guess as long as you are healthy and you own your own place it works out alright. I would just miss the sun though. The winters here, can be really hard. A lot of flats are not friendly for elderly folks - maybe if Germany comes up with better living solutions for older folks?! NOT more nursing homes, like actual communities for retirement I think that would be nice. Of course, this is just my narrow perspective. I personally think Mallorca should become the next Florida. I don't have many friends nor do I own any property here, so that might be a reason I just don't feel it would be wise for me, personally. Good luck though!

 

How do you know all of this? There was a UN report about seniors and their quality of life and Germany actually took 3rd place, the US is on

8th place. So if Germany is already your worst nightmare what would other countries be?

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Global Age Watch Index 2013

 

Edit: one of the problems is that Germany has probably less regional differences than the US. Maybe Florida is better than Germany but Mississippi and Texas bring the entire ranking for the US down (for example).

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Funny, it seems an awful lot of Germans aspire to retire to Florida (or Spain).

Grass is always greener.

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OK you win. Nonetheless, it's a far cry from zero.

 

I wonder how that compares to the number (or percentage) of Floridians (or Americans, for that matter) who'd aspire to retire to Germany?

 

And... wouldn't North Dakota, Minnesota or Iowa be a much simpler and less expensive choice for the OP? All are a bit like Germany (crap winter weather and even a lot of Germans). I understand the cost of living is really cheap / quality of life excellent in those states. Low populations, too.

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Apparently there are more things than just good weather and low gas prices that make life the good life for some.What could that possibly be?

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I cannot fathom retiring to a country where one is not fluent in the language. It becomes so difficult to communicate when one is unwell, even in one's mother tongue.

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