Navigating the German Healthcare System: A Comprehensive Guide to Public Health Insurance in Germany

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Expat Public Health Insurance

Germany has two categories of health insurance systems: public and private. Most Germans are publicly insured, as only 10.6% have private health insurance. Finding the best for you depends highly on your circumstances.  Germany has a world-class public healthcare system, whereby all citizens can access high-quality medical care. The public healthcare system is funded by a combination of employer and employee insurance contributions, but it is also heavily subsidized by the German government to ensure that those who are unemployed or low-earning remain covered and may receive all necessary medical care as well. Every German citizen must have public health insurance by law unless they are among the few people with private coverage.

As an expat, is expected to have different requirements from health insurance, it is important to understand the system to choose the most suitable plan for you while living in Germany. It is crucial to note that you cannot simply switch between the public health scheme and private health insurance as certain prerequisites exist. It is strongly recommended that you seek independent advice who understands both systems’ pros and cons and considers your circumstances.

Health insurance is an essential financial safety net during illness or after an accident, it is not a commodity to be bought at the cheapest price. Read on to learn more about Public Health Insurance in Germany as an expat.

How Much Does an Expat Public Health Insurance Cost in Germany?

For public health insurance in Germany, you can roughly anticipate paying the following amounts:

      • Around 300 to 400 euros for employees

      • Around 600 to 800 euros for self-employed or freelancers

      • Around 80 to 150 euros for students, if they cannot obtain insurance for free through their parents

    In Germany, public health insurance costs between 15.4% – 16.5% of your gross income. The accurate percentage depends on the public health insurance fund (Krankenkasse) you make to be covered. The state contribution rate is 14.6%, and each Krankenkasse is permitted to tack on an extra rate of up to 1.9% (Zusatzbeitrag) to pay expenses. The typical rate of supplemental contributions is 1.6%.

    If you choose a Krankenkasse with a lower additional contribution rate, then you can lower your cost. The effective public health insurance providers for foreigners have the following extra contribution rate:

        • DAK – 1.7%

        • AOK – 1.0% to 1.9% depending on the region of Germany

      Therefore, your health insurance’s actual cost will be higher the higher your income. However, there is a higher income (Höchstbeitrag) that is charged as the basis for the cost calculation. In the year 2024, it is an income of 59.850 euros per year, which is 4.987.50 euros per month. Consequently, you will not have to pay extra for your public health insurance even if your income is higher. However, because the Höchstbeitrag goes up practically annually, your payment for public health insurance will rise along with it.

      What is covered by public healthcare in Germany?

      In Germany, public healthcare includes GP (general practitioner) visits, hospitalisation, outpatient therapy, surgery, maternity facilities, and minimal dental care. A separate private health insurance plan can be purchased to address medical needs that the fundamental system does not cover, such as extensive dental work or a private hospital room.

      Which Public Health Insurance Should You Pick in Germany?

      If you get to pick one of the best public health insurance in Germany, you can do so by registering with one of the 97 Government Health Insurance providers, and non-profit organisations responsible for managing the public health programme. Although some like AOKTKBARMER, and DAK are quite huge and have millions of members, others may only have a few thousand.

      To be able to take part in things like a no-claims bonus, free checks, or discounts on supplemental health insurance, it would also be best to investigate whatever optional supplemental programmes they provide. The rates could differ dramatically as a result of evolving regulations. Even if few Kassen suppliers offer this service and have English-speaking staff, you should be sure to ask about the possibility of interacting in English to make your life easier as an expat.

      Next to Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), which is Germany’s biggest public health insurance fund, you can also consider AOKBarmer, and DAK, who also offer English-speaking customer service. Read on to learn more about the biggest insurance providers:

      TK – Techniker Krankenkasse

      The Techniker Krankenkasse, also referred to as TK, is well-known in Germany. The bonus programme covers your travels throughout the EU and EEA and offers rewards of up to €400 per year. They offer 24/7 personal support in case you need it. They process things faster and have a great English-speaking support staff.



      Nobody knows what the future has planned for us, and that is why one should always stay on the safe side in all the things which are health-related. DAK-Gesundheit, an insurance provider is a partner you can rely on your whole life long. It is a trustworthy provider; one can count on them as your health insurer in all situations in life.


      They cover the costs of doctor’s appointments, surgeries, medicine, devices ranging from hearing aids to walking frames, prevention services such as nutrition advice help to stop smoking, and much more. They invest 20 billion euros each year in the health of our insureds – that is nearly 55 million euros a day.



      With Barmer, an insurance provider from which you can fully trust and benefit from the German public health insurance system. Do you have a family? Then your children and spouse are completely insured for free. It is also helpful in examinations and screenings, such as free comprehensive “Check-up” for the early detection of health risks, disease, and exposure. In Addition, your doctor will send a sick note to your employer if you are ill.



      AOK is an insurance provider of statutory medical healthcare. They have been facilitating security and comprehensive cover in the case of illness for over 130 years. One just need not to worry about long waiting times. They make sure that one can get an appointment smoothly, both with your family doctor and with any specialist you may need. They offer an extensive range of programs to help you have a healthier lifestyle and protect yourself against illness. It includes children, spouses, or registered partners at no extra cost with AOK’s free family insurance coverage.

      English Speaking Public Health Insurance


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      Special In Best English support100% coverage of necessary travel vaccines Best cover for young familiesIncluding bonus programs 100% coverage of necessary travel vaccinations Good osteopathy program


      No, every single resident in Germany legally must have health insurance. If you live in the country without a proper health insurance plan, you will face the risk of getting penalties, and you may be required to pay to cover your entire stay in the country.


      Public health Insurance in Germany, known as “Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung” (GKV), is a mandatory healthcare system that provides coverage for essential medical services to residents. Insurance is funded through contributions from both employees and employers.

      Depending on whether you qualify for public or private insurance in Germany, you have a variety of options when it comes to health insurance providers:

      Public health insurance Providers-

      • TK (Techniker Krankenkasse)
      • DAK
      • Barmer
      • AOK Baden Württemberg

      Depending on the choice you make whether it is public or private, the cost of insurance varies. For example, if you are enrolled in a statutory public health insurance scheme, then the rate is 14.6% of your gross income, half of which is paid by your employer. Whereas for private insurance, the cost varies on various factors.  For example, the monthly cost for a healthy 30-year-old person is from 200 to 300 euros.

      No, public healthcare in Germany is not completely free. It is funded through combined contributions from both employees and employers, and there are additional out-of-pocket fees, like as co-payments for specific treatments and prescriptions.

      Germany provides universal healthcare and each one there is entitled to healthcare regardless of their employment status.

      Public health Insurance covers all necessary healthcare like important treatments and prescriptions are always covered. In a few cases, extra small charges may be applicable.

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