Registering for a health insurance in Berlin

It’s the law that every person living in Germany must have health insurance, either public (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) or private (private Krankenversicherung) – though you’re only allowed to choose to be insured privately if your income is above a specific threshold. 

The most important difference between the public German health care system and that of the US, for example, is that dental insurance is included with health insurance.

If you’re working full-time in Berlin, then you must have German health insurance. Your employer pays half and you are responsible for paying the other half – but don’t worry, that is taken directly out of your wages. There is no fixed monthly fee for everyone; your contribution to the health insurance payment is about ten percent of your gross salary.

Differences between public and private German health insurance

The public health care system in Germany is one of the best in the world. Though some may complain of privately insured individuals receiving care faster or with higher priority than publicly insured individuals, there is really no large difference between the two forms of health insurance in Germany. Often, an employee doesn’t even choose which health insurance provider to sign up with.

The general rule as of 2017 is that you can choose to be privately insured if you earn more than € 57,600 per year (gross). Freelancers, self-employed persons and government officials can choose to be privately insured if they earn less than that amount, but there is no guarantee that the private health insurance will accept you. Public health insurance companies, on the other hand, are obliged to accept everyone who qualifies and applies.

The only way you can keep the health insurance from your home country is if you have secondment rights (called “endsendet” in German). This is only the case if you are technically employed by the company in your home country (their headquarters are NOT in Germany) and if you are only working in Germany for a limited, short period of time. This is only possible if your seconding country is on the approved list, such as any EU country including Lichtenstein, Iceland and Norway; also Canada, USA, Israel, Japan and the People’s Republic of China.

If you are under public health insurance, then your children and spouse are included in the insurance for free. With private health insurance, this is not the case; they must all be individually insured. If you would like to switch insurance companies, then this takes place at the end of the next month after you’ve submitted written notice. If you would like to cancel your German health insurance, this is only possible if you prove that you are leaving the country (which includes all the proper documentation and signatures, such as a notice of quitting from your employer, de-registration from your address / flat in Berlin, etc.).

Registering for a health insurance and obtaining a Mitgliedbscheinigung

To get a job in Berlin it is mandatory to be registered for a health insurance. The health insurance system in Germany is very efficient but can be quite complicated. At the moment, there are around 300 insurance companies in Germany that manage the health coverage of the population. These are generally called “Krankenkassen”. What you need to do first of all, is to pick one.

Public health insurances offer more or less the same amount of services for a similar amount of price. Some of the most popular health insurance companies are the TK (Techniker Krankenkasse) and the AOK

If you are employed, your employer will cover the half of the amount. The charges depend on how much you earn. If you are an employee working full-time in IT, Marketing or Sales, you should consider your health insurance costs to range between 240 and 350 € per month.  

Once you have registered for your health insurance you will automatically receive a membership certificate (Mitgliedsbescheinigung) per mail at your registered address. If you need a copy of your membership certificate for your new employer, you can usually request it online and download it right away (both the TK and AOK offer this possibility). 

List of private German health insurance providers

There are a large number of private health insurance providers in Germany. Here are a few of the most popular: 

  • Allianz Private Krankenversicherungs-AG
  • BBV-Krankenversicherung Aktiengesellschaft
  • Central Krankenversicherung AG 
  • Continentale Krankenversicherung AG
  • DEVK Krankenversicherungs-AG
  • ENVIVAS Krankenversicherung AG
  • EUROPA Krankenversicherung AG
  • SONO Krankenversicherung a.G. 
  • VICTORIA Krankenversicherung AG

For more information about health insurance in Germany, visit the Toy Town Germany forum (which is mostly for English-speaking ex-patriots living in Germany).