For some expats who can't get into the German public health system, getting private health insurance may be next to impossible if they are in poor health.
Healthy freelancers - unless restricted by other issues such as the lack of a visa or residence permit - are not affected by this problem and can apply for private health insurance, albeit usually with a health and dental check-up.
However, since having health insurance is now compulsory even for freelancers, the German government now forces all private German insurance companies to offer the so-called "Basistarif" for uninsured people. These companies don't want you and will do everything to block your application!
But they have to - don't despair: if you want this tariff, you are entitled to it as long as your visa is valid for at least one year.
The level of cover of the "Basistarif" is comparable to the public system and no surcharges may be levied on very sick people who cannot get insured elsewhere.
Costs of further treatment of existing medical complaints are met and there are no waiting times and no one may be turned down for this private insurance!
The greatest problem with this tariff is the cost:
Nobody can afford it.
It costs €570 a month (long-term nursing care costs extra) but members of the family are not co-insured and must pay their own premiums.
Children under 16 years pay € 226 a month.
In individual cases, for example older people or job-seekers on a low income, help may be required to pay these premiums. If this is the case, they may sometimes only have to pay half the premium.
If even this is too much, the social system may pay part of the costs (Sozialämter or the Bundesagentur für Arbeit).
This is obviously a complex issue and expats arriving in Germany are highly unlikely to qualify for help.
"Action expresses priorities."
| John Gunn