public health insurance Germany

Public Health insurance Germany: the Barmer review

Public Health Insurance Germany in 2023 with Barmer

What are the benefits of public health insurance in Germany?

The German social security system is based in the solidarity principle. This means that the strong support the weak, the healthy support the sick and the young support the old. This means all members pay into the system depending on their capacity, from which the same services and protections are made available to everyone.

The social security system can be classified under the following five headings:
– Health insurance (public or private)
– Long-term care insurance
– Pension insurance
(Get In Expat did a webinar about this topic. ask for another here)
– Accident insurance
– Unemployment insurance

Who needs the public health insurance in Germany?

All employees

In 2023, if you are employed with an annual gross salary less than €66,600 per year, it is mandatory to be insured under public statutory health insurance. Employees who earn over this income limit can be voluntarily insured under public health insurance.

Employees families with a public statutory health insurance

In addition, it is possible for dependent family members – spouse, civil partner and children (up to a specified age) – who are living at your address in Germany and earning under 485 euros to be co-insured free of charge.

What does the public German health insurance cover?

Access to all doctors/ specialists/ hospitals – which operate under the public health system
– Full cover for all doctor’s visits, services and treatments that are listed in the German public
health insurance system
– Cover for standard dental treatments, such as preventive check-ups, fillings, dentures and
orthodontics (add additional payments)
– Free choice of public doctors/ hospitals
Cover for prescribed medical aids (with small co-payments)
Cover for prescription medication (with small co-payments)
Sickness payment for employees after 6 weeks, including the cost of the sick note
– Cover for emergency treatment in the EU (under the public health system of the country) with the European health insurance card.
All family members without own income of more than 485 euros are insured free of charge with the public health insurance in Germany

How to get a public health insurance in Germany?

By yourself

Check the German health insurance database to choose the one that fits your needs:

Register with Barmer

The process is easy and quick (within 24 hours):

Once you are registered with Barmer, they will issue an insurance card for you, called a “Gesundheitskarte”. This card has a chip to store your personal data has to be shown the first time you visit a doctor each quarter.

6 Steps for a perfect start in Germany

1. Your Visa


public health insurance germany - visa germany

When you apply for your visa, it is checked whether your educational degrees are recognized in
Germany. In case they are, you will receive a visa for four years upon submission of the relevant
documents (employment contract, certificates, passport and passport photo). However, if your
degree is not recognized, your future employer and you have to submit your certificates for evaluation by the German authorities. If the result of the evaluation is positive, you can go ahead with the visa application process.

Further information can be found in our article about visa

2. Your registration (the famous Anmeldung)

anmeldung germany

The first thing you will need is a place to live. Once you have found somewhere, you have to register your new address with the Einwohnermeldeamt (residents registration office). You can normally do this at the Rathaus (town hall) or Bürgeramt (administrative office for citizens), where they will issue you an Anmeldebestätigung (confirmation of registration).

  • More details about German authorities public offices here
  • Take a look to our Anmeldung tool to help you fill the form or request a quote to our team to have a dedicated service to help your registration and move to Germany

3. Your Tax ID


tax germany

Once you have done your city registration (Anmeldung), you will receive a tax identification number (Steuer ID-Nr.) by letter. Your tax ID is important when you start working. If you don’t receive it, please visit your Finanzamt (tax office) and ask for your tax ID there.

You can find out, which is your local tax office here:

4. Your German health insurance


health insurance germany

In Germany, you also need a health insurance cover. BARMER is one of Germany’s largest public health insurance companies.

Please follow this link to start the registration process (it takes few minutes)

A Barmer representative will take care of informing your employer or university about your public health insurance policy on your behalf.

5. Your social security number


social system germany

In addition to this, you will need a social security number so that your employer can pay you and we can book your insurance premiums correctly. Your BARMER representative can apply for this number on your behalf and you will receive it within a few days. You then just need to let your employer know.

6. Your bank account

bank germany

Next, you will need to open a current account with a German bank.

It is a good idea to compare offers as some Banks don’t charge account maintenance fees on current accounts.

We are proud to be partner with Tomorrow Bank:  the only sustainable bank in Germany. You can open an account with them.



Transparency: this article was written by Barmer, one of our German health insurance partners. If you click on one of their links and register an insurance with them, we earn a commission but there is no additional cost to you.

health insurance in Germany

Health Insurance in Germany – In 7 key points

Learn about Health Insurance in Germany in 7 key questions – 2023

Today I am writing an article about the most frequently asked questions regarding health insurance in Germany. It is a thing in Germany, because it is mandatory to have insurance.  In other words, every person who lives in Germany must be insured. 

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Liza, and I have been working for the largest health insurance company, Techniker Krankenkasse (short TK), since 2016.  Secondly, my job is to help customers get settled and understand our health insurance. 

TK is not only one of the largest Insurances, but also one of the best. We have around 11 million customers across the country.  However, what sets us apart is that we provide many of our services in English. The reason for this is, we know that the health care terms can be difficult to understand – even for some Germans it is not that easy. 

So, you are faced with the issue of getting in touch with an insurance company, if you want to get settled. 

I collected and answered the most common questions I get asked. If you still have questions, I will be happy to help! 

1. How does the German social security system work? 

The German social security system is one of the most efficient in the world. As mentioned before, everyone who lives here must be insured. 

Social insurance system is based on five pillars:

  • Health insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Pension insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Accident insurance

It is based on the solidarity principle, meaning that the contributions are paid in accordance to one’s own financial capacity. Important to note, regardless of how much you pay everyone receives the same benefits, given they meet the requirements. 

As an employee half the contributions will be paid by your employer and half by yourself. And in most circumstances it will be taken directly from your salary.

As an unemployed person, we can check if you can be insured together with your spouse or whether you must pay for the health insurance and long-term care insurance separately. 

In some situations, you can choose between a private or public health insurance. 

First, it is only necessary to know that in the social security system you can only choose your health insurance. All other Insurances are mandatory. If desired, they can be topped up with private supplementary insurance.

2. What are the differences between private and statutory public health insurance in Germany?

For public (statutory) health insurance we have the principle of solidarity, which means that all members are entitled to the same benefits, regardless of their income and how high their contributions are. The services and benefits can vary between the Insurances, but 80% of them are the same.

For private health insurance in Germany, you get insured in accordance to your personal risk. And the more you pay, the better you are covered. For you as an employee, there is an income threshold in order to join a private insurance.   As of 2023, this is an annual salary of 66,600 euros. If you are self-employed or unemployed without any statutory support, you can also be insured as a privately insured person. 

To apply for private health insurance in Germany, you need a health examination and the contributions can then be raised depending on your health status. Treatments can be excluded or your membership fails, because of your health.  

Switching to private health insurance is easy but coming back to public health insurance is difficult. Please keep this in mind when making your decision.

3. What do I have to do, if I get ill (as a publicly insured person)? 

If you have something like a flu, you can visit your general practitioner. If specialist treatment is needed and/or further treatments are necessary, they will give you a “Überweisung” (prescription). With this you can make an appointment with a specialist. 

If you normally go to a doctor, you present your health card. You will get the card at the beginning of your membership

What do I have to do, if I need to go to a hospital? 

If your general practitioner gives you the advice, you will also be given a referral. And in an emergency call the ambulance or go there by yourself. 

Personal Contribution must be paid, but only 10 euros per day 

4. What happens if I get “krankgeschrieben” (you are written off work)?

Normally you can stay at home for two days without sick leave. But you must inform your employer and ask them if there are any special rules. On the 3rd day you will need to see a doctor and get a sick note (Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung).

Usually, your employer pays you the salary until the 6th week of sickness. They just continue to pay your salary. 

After that the health insurance will pay you sick pay. However in order to receive this we always need an official sick note. And, it is very important to see the doctor, as the latter transmits the data on incapacity for work electronically to TK. 

5. Why do so many specialists or doctors not accept new patients? 

This is really an issue within the German health care system itself, many of the doctors are kind of overloaded. We offer an Appointment Service as a solution, where we will arrange appointments for you. 

You can also search with the TK-Doctor-Guide for specialists, that tool also lists the language spoken or language you require. 

If it is urgent or an accident, you can always go to the hospital. They will have some specialists on call and on duty. 

6. I don’t have a German address yet; can I apply for health insurance without that? 

Yes, you can. Your membership will begin with the start of your employment.  However, it is recommended to have interim insurance for the time between your arrival and when you begin your employment. 

To start the registration process with TK, follow this link and send me a mail to follow up.

If you do not have a German address at the time of your registration, it is best to enter the address of your employer. Please let them know so that they can keep the letters for you until you arrive here.

 If you have a permanent address please send us the “Einwohnermeldeamtsbestätigung” as soon as possible.

7. How does it work with couples? Do they go onto the same insurance?

We will gladly check whether your spouse or children can be insured with the health insurance free of charge. However please be aware there are some requirements that must be met.
For example, they may only have a low income or no income at all, age limits for children vary between 18 and 25 years depending on their situation. They must also stay with you in Germany. 

If your spouse is also working in Germany he/she needs their own membership. 

For unmarried partners or parents of the member it is not possible to be included on the noncontributory dependents insurance. We will gladly check if they can be insured with statutory insurance. 

So, these are the most frequently asked questions that I encounter in my work. 

I hope I was able to give you a good overview of how the health care system in Germany works and clarify your initial questions. 

I wish you that you arrive well in Germany and find your way around. 

Transparency: this article was written by TK, one of our German health insurance partners. If you click on one of their links and register an insurance with them, we earn a commission but there is no additional cost to you.

dental insurance

Dental Insurance in Germany

Dental Insurance in Germany


Why isn’t dental covered by public health insurance?

After moving to Germany and hearing about how excellent the health insurance system is, you might be wondering why, after your yearly dental check-up, you were hit with a bill ranging from €100 to €120 if you’re young, healthy and don’t have cavities. Otherwise, you could expect at least €150 to €300 for a cavity with quality filling that lasts longer and matches the color of your teeth. If you’re really unlucky, you’ll have advanced tooth decay that requires you to get a crown – that’s at least €600 if you don’t care about the quality. 

So, you’re probably asking yourself now: shouldn’t public health insurance cover the cost of dental care? Well, it’s actually optional and needs to be added to your public health insurance. 


What is actually covered by public health insurance and what additional coverage do I get with dental insurance in Germany?

With public health insurance, you’ll have the basics covered to make sure you stay in good health. That means basic anesthetics for procedures, fillings for cavities and similar procedures. What isn’t covered is what most people would consider to be the essentials like high quality fillings that match the color of your teeth, modern anesthetics like nitrous oxide and dental cleanings. 


Advantages of dental insurance?

  1. Comprehensive dental coverage

    • If you plan on going to the dentist more than once per year, it’s less expensive than a dental insurance plan!
  2. Routine maintenance and cosmetic care

    • Having a nice smile can make or break someone’s confidence, and just having the option to have routine maintenance and cosmetic care is a huge weight off many people’s shoulders.
  3. Low cost

    • It’s about the same cost as having a family Netflix or Spotify account (that’s for the advanced plan too). 
  4. English signup & lifetime support

    • Not everyone has time to learn German before going to the dentist. That’s why we’ll handle all the German paperwork for you.


You can see the table below for more information:dental insurance


When does it make sense to get dental insurance in Germany?

  1. You care about healthy teeth and gums
    • If you plan to go to the dentist every year for more than one routine check-up, cleaning or other dental care, you should get dental insurance. 
  2. You want quality care that public insurance won’t cover 
    • Most quality dental care isn’t covered by public insurance. This includes quality fillings and cleanings. 
  3. You want to whiten your teeth 
    • Our dental insurance plan is more comprehensive than others because it provides €200 every two years on teeth whitening. 
  4. You want to skip the line
    • With a dental insurance plan, you no longer have to wait for treatments.
  5. You’re 35 or older
    • As you get older, the risk of dental problems increases rapidly – even if you’ve had perfect teeth until this point, it’s almost impossible to avoid certain issues.


Who is eligible for dental insurance and how much does it cost?

Almost everyone is eligible for dental insurance (as long as you’re on public insurance). Just make sure that you are only missing three teeth maximum when signing up since you’re no longer eligible for dental insurance at four missing teeth. 

For advanced dental care, the cost of coverage also increases each year with a maximum cost of coverage for those aged +61. For insurers, this allows people who are older to get more coverage for things like crowns and quality tooth replacement solutions which can range anywhere from €500 for a basic metal crown to €2,000 for a quality dental crown matching the colour of your teeth. 


How do I file a claim?

You’ll first need to go to the dentist and have the procedure. You’ll get the bill afterwards and pay for it out of your own bank account. Once you’re home, you’ll just need to take a picture of the bill with your phone before uploading it to the claims screen in your account. 

Since dental insurance is used by so many people, the claim processing time can take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks even with our dental partners who are ranked as some of the fastest dental insurance providers in Germany. 

Still, considering a cleaning is about an average of €120 and dental insurance being only €9 per month, you’re still saving money long-term even for the most basic yearly cleaning.


Frequently asked questions:

  • Is there a network of dentists I have to choose from?
    • No, you can go to any dentist and simply file a claim afterwards.
  • Is there a waiting period for receiving dental treatment?
    • No, there’s no waiting period for receiving treatments like cleanings, so you can start receiving treatment right away. Please note that your policy will not cover any ongoing procedures.
  • Are there any limits on the amount of dental care you can receive?
    • Yes, there are limits on a few services, which you can see in the treatment cost table. 
    • For example, there’s a 90% limit on the reimbursement you can receive for tooth replacements, which is only available when you use Feather Advanced.
  • Does dental insurance in Germany cover root canals?
    • Yes, dental insurance covers root canals up to €150 in the first year and up to €300 in the first two years combined with no limit after that.
  • Does dental insurance in Germany cover crowns?
    • Yes, our Advanced dental insurance plan covers up to 90% of the cost of crowns, bridges, implants, inlays, onlays, dentures, and other replacement procedures for up to €1,500 in the first year, €3,000 in the first two years combined, €4,500 in the first three years combined, €6,000 in the first four years combined. After the first four years, there is no limit. 
    • For crowns, if you received it five years ago, you can have work done after being a policyholder for two years. 
  • Does dental insurance in Germany cover fillings?
    • Yes, dental insurance covers high-quality, cosmetically perfect composite fillings for up to €150 in the first year and up to €300 in the first two years combined with no limit after that. 
    • In comparison, public insurance only provides basic fillings for back teeth that wouldn’t necessarily match your tooth’s color. Public insurance also only covers high-quality, cosmetic fillings for your front four teeth.
  • Does dental insurance in Germany cover repairs in case of an accident?
    • Yes, our Advanced dental insurance plan covers up to 90% of the cost of repairing teeth in the event of an accident. 
    • In comparison, public insurance will only cover about 50% of the total repair cost in the case of an accident.
  • Does dental insurance in Germany cover orthodontic treatment?
    • Yes, dental insurance will cover the cost of orthodontic treatments if you’re under 21, up to €150 in the first year and €300 in the first two calendar years combined.
    • In case of an accident, your insurance will cover all your orthodontic costs but won’t cover any existing orthodontic treatments or hardware.
  • Does dental insurance in Germany cover mouthguards?
    • Yes, dental insurance will cover mouthguards to protect against bruxism, or teeth-grinding.
  • Does dental insurance in Germany cover pre-existing treatments?
    • No, dental insurance won’t cover pre-existing or ongoing treatments, issues, or complaints. It may also be difficult to get dental insurance if you’re already missing many teeth.
  • What are the benefits of good oral health?
    • Good oral health and hygiene are not only important for maintaining beautiful teeth and gums but for your overall health. 
    • Research shows that good oral health positively impacts your overall well-being, and a dentist can detect signs of over 120 diseases during an oral exam.

Transparency: this article was written by Feather, one of our German insurance partner for Expats. If you click in one of their links and register an insurance with them, we earn a commission but there is no additional cost to you,