Germany has a reputation for having one of the best health care systems in the world. As an employee, it is mandatory to have a German health insurance, being it public health insurance or private health insurance. Around 90% of the German population are members of the public health scheme. Applying for private health insurance is more complicated and the process is not yet covered by this guide.
This guide provides a brief summary of how to apply for public health insurance, but I also strongly recommend that you read the following websites for more information:
The costs for the public health insurance are ~15.5% of your salary, but approximately half of this value (7.3%) is paid by your employer.
Applying for public health insurance is relatively stress free, as it can generally be done online and in English. Before you apply, you must first choose your health insurance provider (Krankenkassen), which are non-profit associations that administer the government health scheme. Some options are:
- TK - https://www.tk.de/tk/english/610312
- AOK - http://en.zuwanderer.aok.de/home/
- BEK - https://www.jetzt-zur-barmer-gek-wechseln.de/en
- DAK - https://www.dak.de/dak/mitglied_werden/Health_Insurance-1283602.html
After you choose your health insurance provider, you can contact them to get more information on how to apply.
I ended up choosing TK, as they are one of the most famous Krankenkassen and offer good English support. If you want to apply for TK simply send an email to "email@example.com" saying that you would like to apply. Spouses/civil partners and children can also be insured at no extra costs, if they do not have income of their own - so make sure you mention them on your email.
Shortly after you send your email you will receive a form that you will have to fill out and send back to them. If you are married or have kids and plan to apply for them as well, it might be required that you send your marriage certificate (or birth certificate for your children). If you have any questions while filling out the form, feel free to ask in the comments section or email them directly, as they usually reply within minutes. You will also be required to send a biometric photo to them (you can scan it and send by email when they ask for it), which will be printed on your your health card.
You don't need to know all of this by heart. Your new Krankenkassen will always let you know if they need you to send a missing document.
Some days after your subscription you will receive a certificate (by email) and some weeks after your health insurance card: