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What is health insurance in general?
Health insurance in general is a person's financial security in the event of illness or injury. It also aims to prevent diseases by promoting preventive measures. Book V of the German Social Code (SGB) serves as the legal basis for the general provision of health insurance. Since 1 January 2009, Section 5 SGB V has stipulated that health insurance is mandatory for all residents of Germany.
There are different options when it comes to health insurance:
- Statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung [GKV])
- Voluntary statutory health insurance
- Private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung [PKV])
Who can insure themselves and how?
The type of health insurance that a person can choose depends on certain prerequisites.
The following illustration is simplified. It should be noted here that there are exceptions and special cases for the different types of health insurance; these are explained in more detail in the specific Helpcenter articles mentioned above.
Every year, the legislator sets an annual income limit (Jahresarbeitsentgeltgrenze [JAEG]), also known as the compulsory insurance limit. This is the level of regular annual gross salary above which an employee is no longer required to take out statutory health insurance.
Accordingly, employees whose annual gross salary is below the JAEG are compulsorily insured in statutory health insurance. Employees whose annual gross salary is above the JAEG can either take out voluntary statutory health insurance (GKV) or take out private health insurance (PKV). (See illustration.)
Visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Health for more information.
(as of March 2023)
General calculation of health insurance contributions
In general, health insurance contributions are calculated based on a person's gross income. A general contribution rate of 14.6% applies, plus an additional contribution that is determined individually by each health insurance company. Contributions are divided equally between employers and employees. The monthly contribution costs are thus based on the following components:
- monthly gross salary
- selected health insurance (private or statutory)