If you’re one of the millions of people in Germany who have private health insurance, are you making the most of it? Mirja Lundehn, independent health insurance advisor from KLforExpats, uses her industry insights to share some tips and tricks for maximizing your health insurance coverage.
When you first arrive in Germany, you may be faced with having to make an important and often quick decision about your health insurance. But beyond assessing the pros and cons of being publicly or privately insured, there’s much more that can be done to maximize your coverage without breaking the bank.
Now that you’ve had the time to step back and check, there are some easy changes you can make to your coverage. In this article, I’ll explain some of these changes, sharing some industry tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of your health insurance. Let’s dive in!
1. Add travel insurance to your package for only 1 euro per month
Most comprehensive private health insurance plans also offer coverage abroad, saving many people the hassle of adding travel insurance to their policy. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t tend to see the doctor as often, you may want to maintain your no-claims bonus each year.
Adding travel insurance to your cover for just 1 euro per month will mean that you will not lose your no-claim bonus on your regular health insurance, if you claim your travel insurance for injuries or illnesses that arise while traveling abroad. Paying 12 euros per year to add extra protection to your no-claims bonus – which can go up to 3600 euros per year – makes perfect sense to me!
2. Pay lower premiums when you retire
Health insurance can be expensive and many worry about whether they will be able to manage their contributions in retirement. So wouldn’t it be great to be able to pay a small monthly contribution that reduces your private health insurance premiums after retirement? It sure will!
With just a small increase in contributions of around 80 euros per month while you work, you can lower your monthly pension premium by as much as 300 euros per month. This becomes even more affordable when you factor in employer subsidies and tax breaks, which can cost you as little as 30 euros per month out of pocket.
If you’re planning to retire in Germany, this is really a no-brainer! Why not pay 360 euros a year now while you are still in full control of your income, to save 3600 euros per year in retirement to complete your retirement? Even better, you can also choose to start enjoying reduced premiums sooner than retirement age.
3. Take advantage of special rates for limited-residence expatriates
Did you know that if you are an expatriate who does not plan to live in Germany for more than five years, you are usually entitled to special rates and can pay as little as 250 euros per month for comprehensive private health insurance?
The catch is that often these plans are not advertised online or listed on comparison sites but can only be arranged by an advisor who has a special partnership with a health insurance provider. If you are unsure whether you qualify, we recommend that you contact an independent advisor to find out more.
4. Take advantage of subsidies and tax benefits to invest in useful add-ons
We know it’s tempting to opt for low-cost, limited-benefit insurance to save on the monthly fee, but when you take a closer look and break down the costs, it may not actually be the best idea financially. By taking advantage of how the system works, you can actually add some useful extensions to your health insurance for a very small additional cost – especially when you consider that employers subsidize half of your premiums and that health insurance is tax deductible.
The retirement contribution relief mentioned above is one useful extension. Another add-on worth considering is income protection insurance, also known as “daily sickness benefit”, which can be added to your existing policy for as little as 20 euros per month, when you take into account employee subsidies and tax benefits.
While standard health insurance covers your medical bills, daily sickness benefit covers your daily expenses when your employer stops paying your wages after six weeks and allows you to meet living expenses if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. It also ensures a continuous retirement history for those who retire in Germany, avoiding the risk of you becoming ineligible for your pension due to gaps in contributions (if you are unable to continue paying contributions voluntarily during a longer period of disability).
5. Get fast and digitally accessible medical care
The German health care system is known for its robustness, but it can also be bureaucratic, causing long waiting times and complicated processes. It can be very challenging for those who don’t speak German very well. Fortunately, remote health (remote treatment) offers a solution. Many people don’t realize that comprehensive public and private health plans often include access to their own tele-health platforms with 24/7 video access and messaging to doctors. This is great for routine requests like getting sick notes for work or repeat prescriptions, so it’s best to double check to see if it’s included in your health insurance plan!
We know that you may be tempted to choose the first affordable plan you see, but taking the time to understand the full spectrum of health insurance options available to you and exploring how you can benefit from Germany’s health and social security system could be a good choice. huge benefits – both financially and in terms of ensuring you have quality coverage!
Would you like to learn more about how you can maximize your health insurance? Or maybe you’d like a second opinion on your current health insurance plan to see if it could be optimized in some way. Contact the friendly team at KLforExpats for advice! KLforExpats has assisted over 500+ expats to date and offers free health insurance advice in English.