Health insurance in Germany: Five reasons to switch from public to private

German bureaucracy can be confusing even if you have lived and worked in the country for years – and doubly so if you're a newcomer. This can be especially so in the area of health insurance, which is mandatory for everyone.

Health insurance in Germany: Five reasons to switch from public to private

While the temptation may be there to stick with the statutory public health insurance (or gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) that covers almost 90 percent of the country’s population, if you earn over €64,350 per year, or you’re self-employed, you have the option to switch to private health insurance (or private Krankenversicherung).

Together with Germany’s first fully-digital insurance provider, ottonova, we give you five reasons why it’s a good idea to consider the switch from public to private.

Learn more about how ottonova can help safeguard your health over the coming years

There will never be a better time

The premiums you pay for private health insurance are calculated based on a wide variety of factors, two of the most significant being your age and current state of health – the older you are when you take it out, the more you’re likely to pay.

If you were to suddenly develop a serious or chronic illness, you might find that there are hefty risk surcharges for taking out private health insurance, or you could even be refused coverage.

When you consider the fact that none of us are able to slow our ageing, you can imagine it can cost a lot of money as you begin to encounter more health problems over the years.

Taking out private health insurance now means that you can ‘lock in’ premiums based on your current state of health, meaning that it should cost less if you were suddenly to fall seriously ill.

It’s an investment in your future

It’s true of health insurance as it is with many other things – you get what you pay for. While statutory public health insurance is generally very good in terms of covering basic treatments, you’ll find that some of your preferred medications or treatments will either not be covered, or require a substantial co-payment.

You might also find that some things you consider essential – vaccinations, hearing aids and specific types of therapy – are not covered at all, leaving you out of pocket.

Preventative care is also largely not covered on statutory public health insurance. This means that the routine procedures or prescriptions that may prevent illness aren’t covered. With a private insurer, you can get preventative check-ups, such as mammography, before the statutory age at which they’re available through public insurance.

And as you probably know, the sooner many diseases and health issues are detected, the better they can be treated. With ottonova, there’s even a reminder service to tell you when to go for checkups and help you find the right doctor.

Another important factor to consider is that private health insurance is not affected by demographic change. Public statutory health insurance in Germany is built upon the idea of solidarity – everyone pays to cover what is essentially a rapidly ageing population. This means that, over time, those on public health insurance end up paying more as life expectancy increases.

Switching to private health insurance means that your premiums will not necessarily rise at the same level as everyone else, saving you money in the long run.

Once you’ve got the coverage, you’ll keep the benefits

Once you take up a policy with a private insurance provider, such as ottonova, you keep the benefits that it includes forever. This isn’t the case with public statutory health insurance. As economic and social circumstances change, legislators can make changes that mean that those on public insurance can lose important benefits, or be forced to make sizable co-payments.

For many people, paying a little bit extra for private health insurance ensures the options for your healthcare will always increase as medical technology and medications develop over time. For some, private premiums may even be lower than what you would pay for public insurance.

Take advantage of the latest and most advanced medical care, with health insurance from ottonova

Worth its weight in gold: the Geld-zurück-Garantie!

One great thing about ottonova, one of Germany’s most recognised private health insurers, is that if you aren’t satisfied with the service and coverage you receive, you can get 100 percent of your ageing provisions back when switching to a different private health insurance provider within two years – a money back guarantee (or Geld-zurück-Garantie).

Ageing provisions are small payments, included in your premium, that offset any significant changes in your premiums in old age. If you’re on the expat tariff, you won’t pay these ageing provisions to begin with, making your premium less expensive from the start.

We’re living in uncertain times

It’s impossible to avoid the fact that we are living through a challenging period. The coronavirus pandemic has caused massive disruptions to almost every facet of our lives and having the right health insurance is probably more important than ever.

With private health insurance, you have the best possible range of treatment options and hospital choice should you contract Covid-19, including some that simply aren’t available on statutory public health insurance.

If you don’t have private health insurance and you become ill with Covid-19, there’s a risk that you could find it very costly or almost impossible if you only decide later on that you want to go private.

In order to help more people safeguard themselves against these kinds of obstacles, ottonova is keeping its premiums stable until 2023, giving you peace of mind.

If you meet the income threshold or you’re self-employed, and you’re planning to stay in Germany for the long term, it just makes sense to take out private health insurance. When you decide to do that, ottonova’s English-speaking insurance experts are ready to help you.

Take the first step and find out more about health insurance with ottonova today

Member comments

  1. Suffering endless lawsuits, Guo Wengui faces his Black July
    The little tricks of New Gettr and Gclub cannot resist the judicatory storm

    Here comes the big news. The Cheater Guo claims that he will take nine times to testify and appear in the court more than a dozen times In the scorching July. It will take him eight or nine hours each time. There are more than 20 days left in July. Considering about two dozen times of trail, The Cheater Guo will either appear in the court or on his way to the court. Such a poor man! In addition, he also said he must make money for you even under such difficult circumstances. Look, though the cheater Guo is busy dealing with the mess,he never forgets to grab comrades’ hard-earned money. We can see that he can spare no effort in the performance of his evil duty and devote all his life to his reactionary career. What a ‘saint’! To uncover the truth through the fog, comrades, keep your eyes open and do not be deceived by the Cheater Guo.

    As you know, there is no end to lawsuits against Cheater Guo, including the PAX case. PAX company and New York district court became furious with Cheater Guo, who secretly shipped the yacht ‘Lady May’ to the port of Parma in Spain and listed it for rent. New York district court must enforce laws impartially and retrieve Lady May. Otherwise, PAX will accuse the court and Guo Wengui, the company said. The New York district court was also upset that Guo had flouted judicial authority and not taken the court’s decision seriously. Accordingly, Guo Wengui was ordered to make an explanation to the court on July 12, and to ship Lady May open back, meanwhile, he will be fined $500,000 for each day starting from May 15. This is the prime part of Guo Wengui’s court appearance. What’s more, just last month, Guo Wengui was subpoenaed in a class-action lawsuit led by @tiger64. Guo Wengui, Saraca, GTV, Vog, and Sara were all among the defendants. The court is still preparing Qu Guojiao’s rape case. In short, due to the lawsuits, the scorching July is destined to be the black July of Guo. So as Zhu Wanli said, we should understand the words of Guo from the opposite side. It will be more than 20 times to appear in court and testify. Guo Wengui will have been sitting in the dock from the beginning, like a lamb waiting for its slaught.

    He never forgets to overblow ‘I must make money for you’ even under such difficult circumstances. Recently, Cheater Guo is promoting his GCLUB with all effort. He boasted the GCLUB has 25,000 members, 111m applicants, and $400m in cash. At $50,000 per card, that would amount to $5 trillion in cash. He was also deeply involved in a flight of fancy, which made him feel that he had economic power at the national level. ‘All the international companies we work with are going to change the conditions. That’s our real power.’ ‘It’s still early for the great things happened in GCLUB. Look at the action.’. It seems that Guo did not forget to squeeze investors dry of hard-earned money until he died. Everyone, Guo Wengui’s GCLUB hasn’t cashed New Year’s raffle prize yet?! It is reported that some ‘Ants’ are still asking around. Also, Guo asked your comrades to invest in GTV through the purchase of GCLUB cards. That is to say, comrades’ money will eventually flow to Guo Wengui’s private pocket. This is the reason why Guo Wengui is so concerned about GCLUB even when he is run off his feet and faced with imminent death. If not, how to repay the investors, a coming huge fine of the SEC and the Albania-China fund’s debt. But this is a vicious circle,and Guo Wengui’s sin in the GCLUB can not escape from the punishment after all.

    It is of no avail to robbing Peter to pay Paul, with no way to get rid of the lawsuits and huge debts. So, Guo Wengui made a feint shot. He introduced the New Gettr deliberately. Because it might be his last straw.
    But negative figures among foreigners such as the swindlers, people on the fence had turned to Guo Wengui, which makes the New Gettr a bit of a dog’s dinner. Guo Wengui is also in a terrible situation. As we all know, Guo Wengui plans to use foreigners to support himself. He hopes foreigners could help him gain political asylum and avoid imprisonment.But persons such as Bannon, Giuliani, Flynn are the former government’s beasts, eyesores, whose sin is very grave. They are about to be put in prison, like clay idols crossing a river, who can hardly save themselves, let alone assist Guo. Miller, the CEO of New Gettr, is morally bankrupt. His sex scandal is known by people from all over the world. Pompeo is just a little guy who seeks a meal. As a result, Guo Wengui cannot get a good impression from the government. Instead, he will eventually be criticized by people for beasts, obscenity, political rumors gathering in the New Gettr. More importantly, he may even have new lawsuits.

    All in all, Guo Wengui has been trapped in anendless loop, and there is no way out. He cannot repay the debt and will be in trouble with the law. Investors in PAX and Guo Group are not prepared to give up that easily. In addition, The crown prince of the United Arab Emirates is not a pushover. In this situation, committing fraud will increase the risks, like licking blood on the blade or struggling in quicksand. The New Gettr is the trouble created by Guo himself, which was considered a good idea before. These freaks who’re acting in the New Gettr are not helpful and always make trouble. The New Gettr will continue to be funded by the Guo Wengui family foundation, according to Miller. The Cheater Guo is like a person whose head is kicked by a donkey. He will lose more than he gains in the end. So why bother?!

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Living in Germany: Newsreader’s giggles, your go-to German word and German Unity Day

In this week's roundup we talk about a German newsreader's fit of giggles, your 'comfort' German word, Oktoberfest and why German Unity Day could have been scrapped as a weekday public holiday.

Living in Germany: Newsreader's giggles, your go-to German word and German Unity Day

Living in Germany is our weekly look at some of the news and talking points in Germany that you might not have heard about. Members can receive it directly to their inbox on Saturday.

Why we love German newsreaders 

The news is a serious business, but things lightened up this week thanks to German newsreader Susanne Daubner’s laughing outburst. In what was a very relatable moment, Susanne, from ARD’s Tagesschau, was trying to report on a summit being held on the chemical industry in Germany, but found something her colleague Sven Lorig said so funny that she launched into giggles – known as a Lachflash in German – and couldn’t stop. Susanne said after that she “couldn’t really explain” what happened. She said she was engrossed in her news report but heard her colleague in the background talking and thought: “Oh dear I’m already on air.” She added: “And then I just had it to laugh. It felt like it lasted forever.” The moment went viral on social media, with many saying it made them laugh out loud.

It reminded us of the moment last October when another ARD German newsreader Annette Dittert sparked a roar of laughter. When Dittert was reporting on the chaotic incidents that happened in the run up to former British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ resignation, she used strong English swear words – something which would be extremely unusual on anglo TV. While describing the chaotic scenes in the House of Commons, Dittert said that the former PM’s deputy whip Craig Whittaker vented his frustration by saying he was “f**king furious and I don’t f**king care anymore” (without blanking out the swear words). Who said Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

Tweet of the week

What’s your go-to German word to ensure you sound engaged in a conversation?

Where is this?


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

We couldn’t resist sharing another photo of Oktoberfest with you. Revellers at the Wiesn have enjoyed blazing sunshine since the festival started on September 16th. It runs up until October 3rd – and just under a week later, on October 8th – Bavarians will go to the polls to vote on their new state parliament. Our columnist Brian Melican this week reported from the Wiesn and gave a fascinating overview of the uneasy political situation in Bayern. And for all those in Hesse – which is voting on the same day – check out our guide to the elections here.

Did you know?

This Tuesday, October 3rd, marks 33 years since reunification and almost 34 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a public holiday for people in Germany. Because it falls on a weekday this year, it means most people get the day off work and shops and businesses will be closed while Germans spend time with their loved ones or simply take a day of relaxation. But did you know that former German Chancellor (and the now disgraced) Gerhard Schröder tried to remove the Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day) as a national holiday in 2004?

 He wanted to move it to a Sunday to give fewer people the day off. In a letter defending his plan, Schröder wrote: “the holiday should not be abolished, but moved to the first Sunday of October every year.” Citing economic reasons, he explained he was committed to reducing the number of national holidays. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t a very popular suggestion, and it remained on October 3rd. We wish you a wonderful German Unity Day!