Germany's Health Insurance Reform Act 2009

Urgent information for freelance teachers and other expats


Since 1st January 2009 everyone working and living here must have either public or private health insurance. There is NO national public health service in Germany equivalent to the NHS in the UK. There are many competing so-called Kassen which charge similar amounts and offer mostly the same prescribed cover.

Public Insurance: All Kassen now charge the same rate (15.5% of your gross income, 14.9% for self-employed). Who can join? All salaried employees and expat freelancers who have just arrived from an EU State and who have paid into a Public Insurance System (e.g. NHS) for a minimum of 12 consecutive months or two out of the past five years. The minimum contribution is c.€143 a month if you are economically inactive and €218 if you are self-employed. Since January 2011 employees pay 8.2% of their gross income towards it and employers 7.3%!

Private Insurance: If you are a freelancer or self-employed from outside the EU or if you have not been in an EU public health system for the last 12 months or for 3 of the last 5 years, you must take out German-approved private insurance. The reason is only German insurances have the so called Pflegeversicherung (long-term-nursing-care). 99% of international health insurances are no longer valid once you register your address in Germany.

Since 1st March 2009 you will be backcharged for each month that you don't have health insurance. If, for example, you sign for health insurance in February 2012 this year but have been here since May 2010 you will not only have to pay the premium for February 2012 but also for the other months retrospectively up to May 2010. More and more insurance companies are now refusing to accept clients from overseas who have been uninsured since coming to Germany.

Getting private German Health Insurance: EU citizens or others with a long term residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) normally must have a medical check-up and, in some cases, a dental check-up, too, if they don't have a current German health insurance policy.

If you are a non-EU citizen, you have an extra problem to solve (Catch 22): to get insured you need to show a visa - but to get the visa you need to show you are health insured within the German system.

We can offer you a stress-free health insurance which meets German legal requirements. This is vital for non-EU citizens and unbureaucratic! For help, advice or quotes, please feel free to call! We're only too glad to help.

Contact us today for more information