I have just had another couple of cases of people residing in Germany without health insurance, so I thought it best to re post my message:-
As more and more ex pats are moving over to Germany, I thought it wise to share a few tips with you when it comes to fulfilling your legal obligations for when you arrive here and also for your continued residency in Germany.
There are two compulsory insurances here in Germany. The first, and most important insurance that you must have, is health insurance. The second compulsory insurance is car insurance….but logically, that’s only necessary when you have or purchase a car. (You can’t get the registration for the car without it).
Once you arrive here, you have a 30 day grace period, which starts from the day you register at your address in Germany (VVG § Protected content . Now, as an employee, the health insurance issue is usually either already sorted out for you, or is arranged (either through your respective employer or insurance brokers) for you for when you start your job here. The employer is bound by law to contribute towards your health insurance (SGB V § Protected content to certain levels, so starting work as an employee without health insurance is nigh on impossible.
(If you are on secondment here, by which I mean if you work here but are being paid and taxed in another country, there are a different set of rules that apply here)
BUT, if you come here as a Freelancer or as a Self Employed person, there is only one person responsible for sorting out your legal obligation to obtain health insurance, and that is yourself. And this is where I see many many cases of people who, because they didn’t know or that they just “haven’t gotten around to it yet” still don’t have health insurance in this country.
All of you who are freelancers or self-employed here, who reside in Germany that come from outside of the EU, you guys are probably aware that you weren’t able to obtain your Residency Visa here (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung) without proof of health insurance. It still remains to be seen if the insurance you have is right for you, but that’s another story.
However, those of you who come here as Freelancers and Self-Employed people from the EU, who don’t need a Residency Visa, more often than not fall into the category of non-insurance. Not because they didn’t want to, no…..just because many of you are under the impression that the EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) covers you fully abroad. Well, it doesn’t I’m afraid. It only provides emergency coverage and that for only a period of about 3 months. Even though you may have an EHIC card, it still means that you need to comply to the law in Germany (VVG § Protected content .
Another thing that understandably puts people off getting themselves a proper sufficient health insurance here in Germany, are the so called “back charges”.
Let me give you an example:-
Let’s just take a normal 35 year old male, who has lived in Germany without health insurance for 18 Months, and for some reason he now needs to get himself health insurance. Now this might be because he has gotten himself an employed job and has HAD to get insurance, or that he has heard about the back charges, and decided to do the right thing and comply with the law.
Let us just say that, he is a freelancer and that the insurance (let us take private insurance as our example) costs €350per month. So, once the application has been sent in, the insurance company will want to know, when he arrived and first registered in Germany, and they confirm that the applicant has lived here for 18 months. The back charges will be calculated thus:-
For the first 6 months of non-insurance (we have to subtract the first 30 days grace period, so in fact the back charges will be calculated over 17 months and not Protected content applicant will be charged the full monthly premium of €350. That’s € Protected content . Then, for every missing month thereafter, the back charges will be calculated at 1/6 of a monthly premium x 11 months. €58.33 x 11 = €641.67. € Protected content = €2741.67. The total amount of back charges that will be levied against the applicant will be €2741.67….and THEN comes the standard monthly premiums thereafter.
Now, there are no “Insurance Police” out there, checking out whether every resident in this country has health insurance. In fact, since a big regulation change, which took place in Jan Protected content Jan Protected content , if you had health insurance and fell into arrears with your monthly premium, the insurance companies had the right to just cancel your insurance for non-payment. Ever since Jan Protected content , that can’t happen anymore. If you fall behind on your monthly premiums, the insurance companies can no longer cancel your contract. You remain insured (albeit for emergencies only)) according to the German statistical office, there are still well over Protected content in Germany roaming around without health insurance…native German or otherwise.
I am not here to pick anybody out and certainly not here to persecute anybody. I am here to tell you like it is and what the situation is in this country. Now, if any of you would like some more info about this, or would just like to check out to see if your insurance is sufficient or indeed valid, please feel free to contact your local financial adviser. You can of course drop me a line directly on a private message and I will help anyone who needs advice and information about this.