What is it?
Health insurance in Germany is mandatory and therefore a requirement in order to be granted a visa of any kind in Germany. That holds true for a short-term stay, for working in Germany for a few years and to move to Germany for good.
When applying for a visa you need to prove that you have health insurance that the German administrative system acknowledges as fulfilling the minimum requirements. The exact requirements depend on the kind of visa you are applying for.
The German health care system is divided into public health insurance (GKV) and private health insurance (PKV). Simplified speaking, if you are employed, you are very likely to be automatically enrolled in the GKV. Freelancers and self-employed can choose between GKV and PKV.
Health insurance tailored to expats for visas is mostly from the private sector. However, what you need and what the German governments requires you to have, naturally heavily depends on your visa.
What are the benefits?
For a 90-day Schengen visa, your insurance must cover at least 30.000€, be valid for all Schengen countries, including medical treatment, medical evacuation and medical repatriation. A regular travel health insurance is usually sufficient.
Student and language student visas require a little more sophisticated health insurance, including inpatient treatment, out-patient treatment as well as a few other things. You can either enrol in the GKV or choose a PKV option to meet the requirements. There are many specialised providers for student plans and the student plans are quite cheap, starting at around 50€ / month.
Working visas and/or expat visas can sometimes be a little more complicated.
First, the requirements are higher. Your health insurance must be more or less equal to the GKV. Additionally, it is often hard for expats to get into the system. Regular PKVs often reject expat applications, e.g. they will always reject you if your visa is valid for less than 2 years. In order to get in the public system, you have to be employed somewhere.
We had clients that were caught in a “Catch 22” situation: They needed to get health insurance in order to get their visa renewed. But in order to renew their visa, the health insurer wanted a valid 2‑year visa.
Second, especially if you are a freelancer or self-employed, health insurance can be expensive. The German system uses subsidies paid by employers and if you are your own employer, you have to pay those too.
Who is it for?
As written above, that depends mostly on two things: what visa you want/have and your employment status.
Those two factors narrow the options down to either GKV / PKV or a PKV in the form of a specialised product for expats in Germany.
There are a few providers of such expat health insurance, personally, we predominantly work with a global health care provider called aLC. aLC’s health insurance plans are 100% acknowledged by the Ausländerbehörde, communication is swift and friendly and through us, they provide you with additional documentation for the Ausländerbehörde in German and English.
Contact us and together we will find the solution that fits your personal needs the best.
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