The principal of social insurance in Germany is not new. It can be traced all the way back to the 19th century when craftsmen paid into insurance funds to cover ill-health.
Today, coverage is based on two pillars, Statutory Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and Private Health Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung).
Once your income is below the annual income limit of €59,400 you are automatically insured on the statutory health insurance scheme. If your income is above this limit you can choose to be insured on statutory health insurance, however it often works out more expensive than opting for a private option.
Statutory health insurance in Germany provides a range of services and benefits including:
- Medical and dental treatment
- Hospital treatment
- Sick pay
Health insurance payments in Germany are deducted at source and contributions are split between you and your employer. These deductions will cover the majority of your medical expenses.
However, to cover increasing costs of the state insurance scheme, public patients over the age of 18, are required to contribute to the cost of some services for example:
- Prescription medicine: 10% of the pharmacy counter price minimum €5 and maximum €10
- Hospital treatment: €10 per day for a maximum of 28 days in a calendar year
- Outpatient rehabilitation treatment: €10 per day
- Most costs are capped at a maximum of €10 a day or 2% of the income per year, in the case of medicines
For more detail on the state health insurance, search ‘Social Security at a Glance’
for a comprehensive overview provided by the German Federal Ministry of
Labour and Social Affairs.