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Germany – Health Insurance

Germany is known for its efficient healthcare system, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the world. While the country has a state-funded healthcare system, it is important for expats to be aware of their health insurance options. In this article, we will explore the health insurance requirements in Germany, the state health insurance system, how to apply for it, and the advantages of international private medical insurance.

Health Insurance Requirements in Germany

In Germany, health insurance is mandatory for all residents. This means that expats living in Germany must have health insurance to ensure they have access to quality healthcare services.

State Health Insurance System in Germany

The state health insurance system in Germany is known as the Statutory Health Insurance (SHI) or the Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (GKV). It is a public insurance program that covers all residents of Germany, including expats. The SHI system is funded through payroll deductions from employees and employers, as well as contributions from self-employed workers.

What does it cover?

The SHI system provides comprehensive health coverage, including medical consultations, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, prescription drugs, and preventive care. The system also covers maternity care, dental care, and rehabilitation services. In addition to healthcare coverage, the SHI system also provides disability and life insurance benefits.

How to Apply for State Health Insurance in Germany

Expats living and working in Germany must register for the SHI system. Here are the steps to follow:

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  1. Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN): To register for the SHI system, expats must first obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the German government. This can be done by visiting a local tax office and providing documentation such as a passport or national ID card.

  2. Register for health insurance: After obtaining a TIN, expats can register for health insurance by completing an application form and providing documentation such as proof of residency and income.

  3. Choose a health plan: The SHI system offers several health plans, and expats can choose the plan that best suits their needs.

  4. Make contributions: After enrolling in the system and choosing a health plan, expats must make monthly contributions based on their income. Contributions are automatically deducted from the employee’s salary if they are employed.

  5. Receive health insurance card: After enrolling in the system and making contributions, expats will receive a health insurance card, which they can use to access healthcare services.

Advantages of Private Insurance

While the SHI system provides comprehensive healthcare coverage, expats living in Germany may also consider purchasing international private medical insurance. Here are some advantages of international private medical insurance:

More comprehensive coverage

International private medical insurance can offer more comprehensive coverage than the SHI system. This can include coverage for elective procedures, alternative therapies, and treatments not covered by the SHI system.

Access to private healthcare facilities

International private medical insurance can provide access to private healthcare facilities, which may offer shorter wait times and more personalized care.


International private medical insurance is portable, which means that it can be used in other countries. This can be an advantage for expats who travel frequently or plan to relocate to another country in the future.

English-speaking assistance

Many international private medical insurance providers offer English-speaking assistance, which can be helpful for expats who are not fluent in German.

Health insurance is mandatory for all residents of Germany, including expats. The state health insurance system, the SHI, provides comprehensive healthcare coverage for all residents of Germany. Expats must register for the SHI system by obtaining a Tax Identification Number, completing an application form, choosing a health plan, and making monthly contributions. Additionally, expats may consider purchasing international private medical insurance for more comprehensive coverage, access to private healthcare facilities, portability, and English-speaking assistance. By understanding their health insurance options, expats can make informed decisions about their healthcare needs while living in Germany.

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