Guide to Private Health Insurance in Germany

private health insurance

Germany’s healthcare system rates one of the best in the world. Once you understand it, it is remarkably easy to start your coverate! Once you’ve read our guide to private health insurance in Germany you’ll be well-informed and well-prepared! 

You must be insured with a German health insurance from the day you are registered in Germany. There are two types of insurance in Germany: public and private. About 85% of people are publicly insured, and the rest hold a private insurance. Let’s take a look at private health insurance (Privatkrankenversicherung).

private health insurance


You are able to take out a private health insurance plan if any of the following apply to you:

  • Earning more than 60,750 EUR per year (2019)
  • Are a freelancer or run your own business.
  • Are a civil servant.

If none of these apply to you, it’s simple: you must have public (statutory) health insurance. Check out our guide to public health insurance for more information.

If you wish to take out private insurance right as you move to Germany, you must tell your employer promptly. Otherwise they may automatically register you with a statutory health insurance scheme. Don’t worry: you can switch to private later on!

Choosing an insurer

AXA is one of the biggest private insurers on the market. Cigna and Foyer Global Health offer plans tailored to expat needs. Your eligibility & costs will vary based upon your occupation, age, health, and other factors. You should speak with an insurance broker who will help you choose the private insurance that meets your unique needs.

You can find a broker near you and go speak with them in person, or use an online broker such as Popsure, Niederer, John Gunn & Partner, or others.

health insurance cards, germany

How much does private insurance cost?

Costs average between 400 and 700 Euros per month, and your employer pays half of this. The costs depend upon the level of coverage you have and your own medical needs. For instance, you might pay a premium if you have a low or non-existent deductible or for a higher than normal payment during prolonged sick leave. You will very likely pay a premium rate if you have a pre-existing medical condition or if you are in a risk category for higher costs.

A large percentage of private health insurance premiums may be deducted from your income tax. Speak with your tax adviser about this.

Pro's and Con's of Private Health Insurance

Below are a few points to consider about private health insurance:


  • You’ll enjoy a higher level of service, which may include doctors who speak your native language 
  • You will probably get access to specialists faster than you would if you were publicly insured. 
  • Costs in the short term may be lower than public insurance if you are young & healthy, especially if you do not plan to stay in Germany for more than a few years.
  • You can choose from a wide variety of insurance policies to meet your needs


  • You may need to pay for your medical costs up front. Your insurer will reimburse you after you submit your expenses. This process will be in German and is not simple.
  • You may not be eligible for private health insurance if you have been in Germany less than 2 years
  • The sign-up process is more intense. You will most likely need to provide proof of income, proof of insurance through your whole adult life, and you will undergo a medical exam.
  • You have to opt out of your public insurance scheme to switch to private, and it may be very difficult to switch back in the future. Private insurance is often more expensive than public, and it doesn’t cover your whole family. The price of your plan isn’t based on your income, but rather on your risk profile. For example, older people generally pay higher prices than younger people.

All in all, private health insurance is certainly not as simple as public insurance. However, in some cases it may be the best choice. If you are interested in private health insurance, speak with your HR team about the information they will need. They may refer you to a trusted broker to advise you in the process.

It may be easier to start on public insurance and then switch to private once you are more established in Germany. You must register with a health insurance to receive a visa to work in Germany and to be paid by your company. Make sure you can tell your HR team who you are insured with, and get a confirmation letter from the insurance company that includes your registration number and date the coverage starts.


If you have questions about this guide to private health insurance in Germany, let us know! We’ll happily advise or point you in the right direction!


Pragmatic. Informative. Uses a machete to cut through red tape.

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