Since 2009, German law requires everyone to have health insurance.
Health insurance in Germany usually provides adequate to good coverage for a wide range of health care issues, but depends on the policy type an individual holds and whether they have insurance from Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung or GKV (a program run by the government) or health insurance via a private entity (Privatkrankenversicherung or PKV).
These policies may not offer full coverage and this depends once more on the policy type held. Typically with a policy issued by the government-run insurance program, hospitalization is usually covered, but it will not cover private or semi-private rooms or receiving treatment from a private surgeon or doctor. Small fees may be payable for hospital stays, doctor appointments or collecting prescriptions.
Private and government-run insurance policies might include restrictions or limits placed on things like homeopathy, alternative medicine, specific dental procedures, or cover from insurance taken outside Germany.
Examine and understand the benefits stated in your policy and if there are any areas that could have better coverage, getting a supplemental insurance may be a sensible option. Such insurance policies are not limited specifically to health cover. Other forms of cover can provide for a person's wellbeing. Accident, travel, loss of income through illness and disability can be covered by supplement insurance. Such issues are particularly important for the self-employed and freelancers, who are usually not as well covered as regular employees are by social benefits received via their employers.
Supplement insurance policies cover benefits such as:
Travel Health Insurance (Reisekrankenversicherung)
This type of insurance differs marginally from general travel insurance covering flight cancellations, delays or lost baggage. Many general travel insurance policies do not cover costs of repatriation after hospitalization abroad, doctor's care abroad or visits to accident and emergency. It is important to check the specific details of any supplemental health insurance on a travel insurance policy you choose when going abroad. Some have ceilings on the value of cover, the time you can spend away from Germany and remain eligible for the insurance, or there may be other restrictions.
Long Term Nursing Care (Pflegeversicherung)
This insurance is not optional. Everybody who has insurance via a private company or via the government must sign up. Employees pay between 1.95% and 2.2% of their salary each month up to maximum amount of 80.00 Euros (at the time of writing). The employer contributes 50% of this. People with private insurance pay a premium to their insurance company.
Income Protection Insurance (Krankentagegeldversicherung, Krankenhaustagegeldversicherung)
You can find supplemental policies that will pay the policyholder a daily set amount during sickness and absence from work or during an extended hospital stay should you fall seriously ill or have an accident. Gesetzliche Krankenkasse policies (government-run health insurance scheme) normally provide a certain percentage of the sick person's annual income for hospital stays of up to 42 days, thereafter the benefit may reduce downwards. It is very important to check the length of time covered for hospitalization, as hospital bills can run into thousands of euros and come as a nasty shock to a person still recovering from illness and therefore not in full-time employment.
There are various levels of coverage with supplemental insurance policies offered by private insurance companies. Read through the standard policy carefully and research what options are open to you for this type of insurance. Coverage is very wide ranging with many options and it requires a determined research effort to find a satisfactory level of cover for all eventualities. Involve a trusted insurance agent to help you with the process or you may not get the type of policy you really need or pay far too much for a supplemental medical insurance policy that still doesn't address all your potential requirements.
For more information please visit the Welcome Center Germany