For members


What to know about Germany’s new health insurance fees for 2023

Like many aspects of life in Germany, public health insurance is also set to get more expensive starting in January 2023. Here’s how much more you could end up paying.

Health insurance cards from AOK.
Health insurance cards from AOK. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

A total of 48 of the 97 statutory health insurers are raising premiums (zusätzliche Beiträge) in the new year, according to an evaluation by the comparison portal Check24. This means that 40.9 million people in Germany will face additional costs.

But just how expensive will it be in the end? According to Check24, premium adjustments could go up by 0.1 to 0.7 percentage points. It may not sound that much at first, but the price increase could cost employees up to €347 a year. 

The bill becomes even more expensive for the self-employed, since they foot 100 percent of the premium, whereas employees share it with their employer. That means those who work freiberuflich (freelance) could end up paying a whopping €693 extra per year. 

No notifications required

Many people who are gesetzlich versichert (have statutory health insurance) might not even realize that their costs are rising. As of January 1st, insurance companies will no longer have to personally send all of their customers a letter to inform them of any increase.

READ ALSO: German health insurance costs set to rise next year

Previously they were obliged to do so, but that requirement has been suspended until June 30th, 2023. Thus, every insured person should check what their health insurer will be charging from next year – especially the self-employed who have to shoulder the entire cost of their coverage. 

If your premiums are shooting up and you want to switch, it’s important to know your rights. Normally membership of at least 12 months is a prerequisite for changing provider – and there may also be deadlines for avoid contract renewals. But anyone who has received an increase has a Sonderkündigungsrecht, or a special right to cancel at any time without incurring extra fees.

Should you switch companies – and to which one?

“How high the additional costs end up being depends on how much your own health insurance company raises the premiums,” says Dr. Daniel Güssow, from Check24. 

“Even small premium adjustments can lead to sensitive additional costs for insured people. The only way to avoid higher premium payments is to switch to a cheaper health insurance company.”

If you’re looking to lower your costs, there’s still a handful of companies keeping their premiums consistent in the coming year. Twenty of the 97 statutory health insurance companies will keep their additional contribution the same as it was in 2022, benefiting a total 26 million members. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: How can I change my German health insurance provider?

Only three health insurers will lower their premium contribution for their 85,000 members.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest insurance companies which are raising their premiums. 

AOK Bavaria: The largest of 11 AOK groups, the Bavarian branch is hiking its premium by 0.28 percentage points to 1.58 percent. 

DAK-Gesundheit: DAK-Gesundheit will increase its premium to 1.7 percent in 2023. In 2022, the premium was 1.5 percent.

TK: Techniker Krankenkasse has already announced that it will leave its premium at 1.2 percent. 

AOK Baden-Württemberg : AOK Baden-Württemberg has decided to also raise its premium by 0.3 percentage points. This means that the additional contribution will rise from 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent.

Barmer: Barmer has said it does not want to raise its premium, with the total remaining at 1.5 percent. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Do German employees with Covid-19 and no symptoms still have to go to work?

The Covid-19 pandemic may be officially over but the number of reported cases is going up around Germany. If an employee tests positive, but has no symptoms, do they still need to show up at work?

Do German employees with Covid-19 and no symptoms still have to go to work?

During the bulk of the Covid-19 pandemic, anyone with the virus was required to stay home for a certain period of time, whether they showed symptoms or not.

Now the pandemic may officially be over, but “Covid-19 is still with us,” as Germany’s health minister Karl Lauterbach said last week upon announcing the availability of the newest booster vaccine

There are currently three Covid-19 variants circulating around Germany, with the reported number of cases going up.

READ ALSO: Could there be a new wave of Covid-19 in Germany this autumn?

Workers around Germany may get tested – be it because a close contact had the virus or out of curiosity – and find they also have Covid-19, but are completely free of symptoms.

Does this mean they still need to show up at their workplace, if working from home isn’t possible, or should they stay home until they have officially recovered?

Employee must indicate infection

If a person infected with Covid exhibits typical signs of the virus such as a coughing, a cold or a fever, the case is usually crystal clear: they can and should rest at home, as with any sickness. 

In accordance with German law, they’ll need to get a sick note from their GP if those symptoms last for longer than three days. 

However, positive test alone “does not automatically make you unfit for work,” lawyer Alexander Bredereck told Germany’s RND editorial network. “And if you are not on sick leave, you actually have to work. Therefore, the employee is in a difficult situation here.”

He continued: “If the employee simply stays at home without a sick note, in the worst case he can risk a warning or even dismissal for not showing up for work.”

However, if someone goes to work despite the positive test result, they may endanger their colleagues – as they can become more severely infected. 

Furthermore under German labour law, the employee is usually obliged to inform their employer of the Covid-19 infection.

READ ALSO: How sick leave pay in Germany compares to other countries in Europe

Uncertain legal situation

“At the moment, there are no legal requirements that employees and employers have to adhere to,” says Bredereck. 

In February 2023 Germany’s ‘Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance’ on Covid-19 – which would have required those with an infection to stay home at least five days – came to an end.

Since then, Germany’s Ministry of Labour has simply recommended that each employer implement their own hygienic requirements to protect their employees from Covid and other infectious diseases such as the flu, which is soon expected to see a spike in cases as the autumn/winter season takes hold. 

If there is a high incidence of infection in one particular region, the Ministry of Labour recommends that, in addition to the usual hygiene measures, social distancing measures should be implemented again and people should reduce their contacts. 

This suggests that workers should not endanger other workers in this situation.

Stay transparent

To solve the dilemma and avoid conflicts, Bredereck recommended that employees simply stay transparent with their management.

“Don’t take any unnecessary risks or get into trouble with your boss,” he said. “Ask your employer what you should do.”

Alternatively, the employee could also turn to their GP for a sick note, which for regular patients is also available via phone in some cases. 

“Then the doctor has to decide what makes sense, and the employee is on the safe side,” explained Bredereck.