More Germans are switching to private health insurance, says PKV Association

More Germans are switching to private health insurance, says PKV Association

More people living in Germany are opting for private health insurance coverage, according to the Association of Private Health Insurance.

More people are opting for private health coverage in Germany

Figures from the Association of Private Health Insurance (PKV-Verband) have revealed that the number of people in Germany choosing to be covered by private health insurance is growing.

In 2023, private health insurance companies in Germany gained more customers than they lost for the first time in 12 years. However, the customer increase was only 2.600 people, 0,3 percent of their entire customer base.

Most people in Germany are covered by statutory health insurance (GKV) since private health insurance customers must either earn a salary of more than 69.300 euros per year or be a freelancer, a civil servant or a foreign student. For context, according to 2022 Salary Atlas figures the median wage for full-time employees in Germany is 43.752 euros per year.

Will Germany ever have universal healthcare?

More people switching to private health insurance providers in Germany poses problems for statutory insurance coverage companies, which charge customers 14,6 percent of their salary - equally divided between employee and employer - but also receive top-up subsidies from the German government.

Critics of the existing healthcare system including both statutory and private health insurance have said that with a greater number of people moving to private coverage comes the risk of further cementing a two-tier health insurance system in the federal republic.

One alternative that has been floated is the of a “Bürgerversicherung” or “citizens insurance”, a universal health and care system which would be available to everyone, regardless of income or employment status.

Adopting the Bürgerversicherung system was detailed in the SPD manifesto ahead of the 2021 federal elections, and is a policy supported by the Greens and the Left Party. However, since the FDP is stringently opposed, the policy was left behind when the current SPD-Greens-FDP government signed off their coalition agreement in 2021.

Thumb image credit: Ralf Liebhold /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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