The cheapest public health insurers in Germany in 2022
A new year is almost here, which means that the statutory health insurance companies in Germany have just published their additional contribution (Zusatzbeitrag) rates for 2022. Once again, the average rate is 1,3 percent - but there are savings to be made for those who switch.
Majority of Krankenkassen have not adjusted additional contribution
On top of the standard health insurance contribution rate of 14,6 percent, public health insurers (Krankenkassen) in Germany are permitted to charge an additional contribution, to cover extra financing requirements. Like most other contributions to social security, the additional contribution is split equally between you and your employer, if you are currently working in Germany.
Every year, the Krankenkassen announce their additional contribution rates for the coming year. After many insurers opted to increase the Zusatzbeitrag in 2021, nearly half will leave it unchanged in 2022. According to a survey by Finanztest, 36 out of 73 insurers will not change their additional contribution - and some are even reducing it. Some, however, will put their additional premiums up.
Savings can be made by switching health insurance company
It might seem silly to quibble about fractions of percentage points, but taken over the course of a year, the differences can really add up. According to Finanztest’s calculations, someone with a gross monthly salary of 3.000 euros stands to save 9,90 euros per month by switching to the cheapest insurance company. For higher earners, the potential savings are even greater. And thanks to a rule change in January 2021, switching has never been so easy.
Previously, you needed to remain with your chosen health insurer for a minimum of 18 months before being allowed to change. Since the beginning of this year, that minimum term has been reduced to 12 months, meaning you can freely switch every year, if you so desire.
If your insurer increases their additional contribution, you also get a special right of termination - regardless of how long you have been a policyholder. Just make sure to terminate your cover before the end of the month in which you were informed of the change.
In both cases, a notice period of two months applies. So if you terminate your contract at the end of January, your health cover will pass to your new health insurer by April 1. You don’t need to terminate your old policy yourself - simply take out a new policy (you can do this online), and your new insurer will inform your old company.
These German health insurers have below-average rates in 2022
So, if you are in a mood to switch, where can savings be made? The following national health insurance companies are all charging a below-average (less than 1,3 percent) additional contribution rate in 2022:
- HKK Krankenkasse - 0,69 percent
- BKK Firmus - 0,84 percent
- BKK GILDMEISTER SEIDENSTICKER - 0,90 percent
- Bertelsmann BKK - 1,00 percent
- Audi BKK - 1,10 percent
- BKK VerbundPlus - 1,10 percent
- Heimat Krankenkasse - 1,10 percent
- IKK gesund plus - 1,10 percent
- AOK Plus - 1,20 percent
- Bahn-BKK - 1,20 percent
- Bosch BKK - 1,20 percent
- Debeka BKK - 1,20 percent
- R+V Betriebskrankenkasse - 1,20 percent
- TK - Techniker Krankenkasse - 1,20 percent
- Continentale Betriebskrankenkasse - 1,25 percent
- Mobil Krankenkasse - 1,29 percent
Some extra options may also be available in your federal state - since not all public health insurers operate across the whole of Germany.
It is worth bearing in mind, however, that not all provide the same level of coverage beyond the minimum requirements. So a Krankenkasse charging a lower additional contribution might not offer the same level of healthcare as a more expensive one.
Before deciding to switch, it’s worth thinking about what treatments you would like covered - for instance, travel vaccinations, osteopathy, homeopathy, or more advanced dental care - and comparing the packages offered by different insurers. There are online tools that can help you with this.