How publicly-insured people can access private health benefits in Germany

How publicly-insured people can access private health benefits in Germany

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If you don’t have the option of choosing between public and private health insurance in Germany, that doesn’t necessarily mean you miss out on all the benefits of being privately insured. Mirja Lundehn, lead health insurance advisor at KLforExpats, explains how publicly-insured people can still benefit. 

Imagine receiving private medical treatment with your statutory coverage. While private full comprehensive health insurance is an option for some individuals, not everyone qualifies for it, since private health insurance in Germany is only available to specific groups, such as self-employed individuals, high-income earners, and civil servants.

In fact, only 10 percent of the German population is privately insured. Not necessarily because the public scheme is favoured, but because not everyone is eligible.

However, being publicly insured doesn't necessarily mean missing out on the benefits of private healthcare. In this article, I will explain how publicly insured individuals in Germany can gain access to private health benefits and treatment so that they can get the best of both worlds!

Advantages of being publicly insured but privately treated 

In Germany, the healthcare system is renowned for its comprehensive coverage and high-quality medical services, whether you’re publicly or privately insured. However, despite public insurance being of a high standard, there is no denying that there are significant benefits to being privately insured. 

For example, in the public healthcare system, getting a quick appointment is challenging, and you often have to wait for weeks. You’re also limited to approved providers and hospitals and do not have access to certain specialists and private physicians. 

Another thing to consider is despite giving high-quality care, doctors are obligated to offer patients in the public system the most economical and cost-efficient treatments. For example, if you have back pain, you’ll likely be offered a regular scan instead of an MRI to save costs. For dental care, you won’t have access to the most modern treatments and innovations. 

Enjoying the best of both worlds by combining the advantages of each system

But being publicly insured doesn't mean having to compromise and missing out on the same advantages enjoyed by people who are privately insured. In fact, publicly insured individuals can access a range of private health benefits and treatments, enjoying the same perks usually associated with private insurance, through a type of coverage known as supplementary private health insurance. 

This allows those in the statutory scheme to enhance their existing public health insurance coverage by obtaining additional private insurance policies tailored to their specific needs.

What kind of private benefits are available to publicly insured individuals?

Publicly insured individuals can select from a variety of private supplementary insurance options offered by reputable insurance companies. These supplementary plans provide coverage beyond what is typically included in basic public health insurance, giving policyholders access to exclusive treatments and services, such as:

  • Private hospital rooms and head physician treatment: With private supplementary insurance, publicly insured patients qualify for free choice of hospital and physician and can enjoy the privacy and comfort of a private hospital room during their stay. 
  • Alternative medicine: Some supplementary policies subsidise alternative treatments like acupuncture, homeopathy, or naturopathy, which may not be fully covered by public insurance.
  • Dental treatments: Private dental insurance can cover a broader range of treatments, including prophylaxis services and higher-quality materials for dental work.
  • Vision care: Public insurance usually offers basic vision coverage, but private insurance can extend benefits to include more comprehensive eye exams, laser surgery, glasses, or contact lenses.
  • Access to premium specialists: Supplementary private insurance can grant access to top-tier specialists and medical experts not available through regular public healthcare networks.
  • Faster medical appointments: Access to private insurance often means shorter waiting times for appointments with specialists and surgeons, ensuring quicker diagnoses and treatment plans.

How to obtain supplementary private health insurance and enjoy private benefits 

To access private perks and benefits, publicly insured individuals can research different private supplementary insurance options and compare their offerings,  or you can work with an independent broker for free. 

An expert can offer useful advice and help compile the most optimal package for you, since it’s essential to carefully consider the specific benefits and coverage provided by each policy, ensuring they align with your individual healthcare needs and preferences.

In summary? Publicly insured individuals in Germany need not feel restricted by the limitations of basic public health insurance. By taking advantage of private supplementary insurance, you can enjoy the comprehensive coverage of public insurance while accessing premium treatments and services typically only associated with private healthcare. 

Want to learn more about how you can access supplementary private health insurance and take better control of your healthcare? Get in touch with KLforExpats who can talk you through your options!

Mirja Lundehn


Mirja Lundehn

Mirja Lundehn is the co-founder of KLforExpats, an English-speaking, independent insurance brokerage with 20+ years experience in the industry. KLforExpats provides health insurance advice and support to internationals in Germany...

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