Choosing the best private health insurance company in Germany can be a daunting task, as there are many factors to consider and many options to compare.
In this article, we will provide you with an overview of the private health insurance system in Germany, a comparison of the top private health insurance companies, and some tips on how to choose the best one for your needs.
Understanding Private Health Insurance in Germany
Private health insurance (PKV) is one of the three options for health insurance while living in Germany, along with government-regulated statutory health insurance (GKV) and a combination of GKV and supplemental PKV.
Differences between Statutory Health Insurance (GKV) and Private Health Insurance (PKV)
The main differences between GKV and PKV are:
- Eligibility: GKV is mandatory for most employees who earn less than 66.600 euros per year, while PKV is available for those who earn more than that, as well as freelancers, self-employed, civil servants, and some foreign students.
- Coverage: GKV covers a standard range of medical services, while PKV offers more comprehensive and personalized coverage, including access to private doctors and hospitals, faster appointments, higher reimbursement rates, and optional extras.
- Cost: GKV premiums are based on income and are shared between the employer and the employee, while PKV premiums are based on age, health status, and chosen benefits. PKV premiums tend to be lower for young and healthy people, but higher for older and sicker people.
- Family: GKV covers spouses and children without additional cost, while PKV requires each family member to have their own policy.
Additional Options for Employees
Employees who are eligible for PKV can also opt for a combination of GKV and supplemental PKV. This means that they can keep their basic coverage from GKV and add extra benefits from PKV, such as dental care, alternative medicine, or travel insurance. This can be a good option for those who want more flexibility and coverage without paying too much.
Another option for employees is to switch from GKV to PKV or vice versa. However, this is not always easy or possible, as there are strict rules and conditions for changing health insurance providers in Germany. For example, employees who want to switch from GKV to PKV must have earned more than 66.600 euros per year for at least three consecutive years. Employees who want to switch from PKV to GKV must have earned less than 66.600 euros per year for at least one year.
Cross-border Care, Travel Insurance, and Evacuation Benefits
One of the advantages of private health insurance in Germany is that it usually covers cross-border care within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), as well as Switzerland. This means that if you need medical treatment while traveling or living in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you can use your German private health insurance card to access public or private healthcare services without paying extra fees.
However, if you travel outside of these countries, you may need additional travel insurance to cover your medical expenses abroad. Some private health insurance companies offer travel insurance as an optional extra or as part of their packages. Travel insurance can also cover other risks such as lost luggage, flight cancellation, or personal liability.
Another benefit that some private health insurance companies offer is evacuation benefits. This means that if you have a serious medical emergency abroad that requires urgent transportation to a hospital or back to Germany, your private health insurance company will cover the costs of your evacuation. This can be very useful in case of natural disasters, political unrest, or other crises.
Comparison of Top Private Health Insurance Companies in Germany
There are around 40 private health insurance companies operating in Germany, but some of the most popular ones are:
- Techniker Krankenkasse (TK): TK is the largest statutory health insurance provider in Germany, but it also offers private health insurance plans for those who are eligible. TK has a high customer satisfaction rate and a wide network of doctors and hospitals. TK also offers travel insurance and cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland.
- AOK: AOK is another large statutory health insurance provider that also offers private health insurance plans. AOK has a good reputation for quality and service, and it also covers cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland. AOK also has special programs for students, families, and seniors.
- Barmer: Barmer is a statutory health insurance provider that also offers supplemental private health insurance plans. Barmer has a strong focus on prevention and wellness, and it also covers cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland. Barmer also has online services and apps for its customers.
- DAK Health: DAK Health is a statutory health insurance provider that also offers supplemental private health insurance plans. DAK Health has good customer service and a comprehensive range of benefits, including dental care, alternative medicine, and travel insurance. DAK Health also covers cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland.
- AXA: AXA is a global insurance company that offers private health insurance plans in Germany. AXA has a high level of coverage and flexibility, and it also covers cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland and worldwide. AXA also offers evacuation benefits and online services.
- Allianz: Allianz is another global insurance company that offers private health insurance plans in Germany. Allianz has a high level of coverage and customization, and it also covers cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland and worldwide. Allianz also offers evacuation benefits and online services.
- Hallesche Krankenversicherung: Hallesche Krankenversicherung is a German insurance company that specializes in private health insurance. Hallesche Krankenversicherung has a high level of coverage and quality, and it also covers cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland and worldwide. Hallesche Krankenversicherung also offers evacuation benefits and online services.
- HanseMerkur: HanseMerkur is a German insurance company that offers private health insurance plans in Germany. HanseMerkur has a high level of coverage and innovation, and it also covers cross-border care within the EU/EEA/Switzerland and worldwide. HanseMerkur also offers evacuation benefits and online services.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Private Health Insurance Company
The best private health insurance company for you depends on your personal preferences, needs, and budget. However, some of the factors that you should consider when comparing different options are:
- Coverage for dental care, pharmacies, and additional benefits: Some private health insurance plans offer more coverage for dental care, pharmacies, and additional benefits than others. For example, some plans cover 100% of the costs of dental treatments, while others only cover 50% or less. Some plans also cover alternative medicine, vision care, psychotherapy, or preventive check-ups. You should check what benefits are included in each plan and how much they cost.
- Premiums, deductibles, and family insurance options: The premiums, deductibles, and family insurance options vary depending on the private health insurance company and plan. Premiums are the monthly fees that you pay for your health insurance plan. Deductibles are the amount of money that you have to pay out of your pocket before your health insurance plan starts to cover your medical expenses. Family insurance options are the possibility to include your spouse and children in your health insurance plan. You should compare the premiums, deductibles, and family insurance options of different plans and see which one fits your budget and needs.
- Ease of changing insurance providers: As mentioned before, changing health insurance providers in Germany is not always easy or possible. Therefore, you should choose a private health insurance company that allows you to change your plan or provider without too much hassle or penalty fees. You should also check the cancellation policy and notice period of each plan.
- Tax deductions and benefits: Some private health insurance plans offer tax deductions and benefits for their customers. For example, some plans allow you to deduct your premiums from your taxable income, while others offer cash bonuses or discounts for healthy behavior or loyalty. You should check what tax deductions and benefits are available for each plan and see which one suits your financial situation.
- Sickness and maternity benefits: Some private health insurance plans offer sickness and maternity benefits for their customers. For example, some plans pay you a daily allowance if you are unable to work due to illness or injury, while others cover the costs of maternity leave or childbirth. You should check what sickness and maternity benefits are included in each plan and see which one meets your expectations.