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Munich - Health Insurance

Health insurance (Krankenversicherung) is compulsory in Germany. If your income is below 3.825 Euros per month (September 2003), you must register in the public system. Because it is the state system, although the premiums differ, the level of coverage is the same. If your income is above this amount, you can choose to register in the private system.
When you are in the private system you have a choice of the level of coverage. All the dependents of a member of the public system are covered by one policy. In the private system, each family member must be registered individually. Both yourself and your employer pay 50% of your health insurance cover. The charge is not a flat premium, but rather a percentage of your income. At the moment, the cheapest insurer charges a little over 12% of your income.

Health insurance covers medical costs associated with accidents sustained at work, and sickness and disease. Medical costs mean the cost of medical procedures, internal and external medicines and bandages, in- and out-patient hospital treatment. When the injured person is an income earner, they are also paid a pension or sick pay.

Health insurance deductions are taken out of your pay as a fixed percentage. There is a minimum amount you must pay each month, even if this is greater than the fixed percentage. Also, there is a maximum amount to pay per month, so if you earn over 20.000 a month, you won't lose more than your fair share to health insurance. Your employer pays half of the contribution, and you pay half. If you are self-employed you pay the lot, but as two separate installments. At the moment the government is trying to make reforms to the public health system and force up the amount workers must earn before they are eligible for private health insurance.

Your insurer sends you a card with a magnetic stripe on it, like a credit card. Each time you go to a doctor or specialist the receptionist swipes the card and your health insurer gets billed automatically. As of 2005 you have to pay 10 euros extra, every quarter of a year. This amount will be asked from you upon your first visit in a quarter from your doctor up front. You also have the option to receive the bills yourself and then make a claim to your insurer.

Public health insurance has no waiting period and no extra charges to treat pre-existing conditions. Hospital care, excluding accommodation, is covered. Optical and dental coverage is covered to a lesser degree than in the private system.

Private health insurance has a 3-8 month waiting period for dentures and care during pregnancy. All medicines are reimbursed. Depending on your level of cover, you can have hospital accommodation paid for, and your choice of doctor.

Accident insurance (Unfallversicherung)
Workplace accident insurance is compulsory, but only covers you at work or at your place of study, and direct travel to and from there. Other forms of accident insurance must be covered by private policies. The good news is that private accident insurance is valid 24 hours worldwide. In accidents that cause permanent injury, you can be paid a life-long invalid's pension.


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