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.