Which German statutory health insurance company is the best?
People regularly use comparison websites to look at different options and consider a change in their energy provider, car insurance or mobile phone network, but when it comes to statutory health insurance, most customers in Germany stay loyal, sometimes for decades. But, according to a new study, making a switch could sometimes not only save you money, it could also get you a better service.
How does your cover compare?
How do statutory health insurance companies in Germany compare on things like costs, additional services, and cover? In a bid to better arm people considering a change in provider, the German Institute for Service Quality and ntv set out to rank some of the biggest health insurers in Germany.
The 21 statutory health insurance companies with the most members were analysed in terms of their benefits, conditions and service. Testers made contact with the companies via email, phone and their websites to rate their service quality, and then compiled various metrics on their additional contribution rates, their additional services and optional tariffs to calculate a final score out of 100.
Many health insurers go above and beyond
Overall, 19 providers scored a “good” rating, while two came out on top as “very good”. The German Institute for Service Quality noted that “especially in health promotion and preventative care, many health insurance companies shine with extensive additional services that go beyond the legal framework.”
They also found a significant variation in cost: in addition to the general contribution rate of 14,6 percent, all the health insurers included in the study charge an additional contribution of between 0,69 and 1,7 percent. While this sounds like a minor difference, the study’s authors noted that this can add up to a substantial sum over time. For a gross monthly salary of 3.500 euros, switching from the most expensive to the cheapest insurer could save 212 euros per year.
Another potential cost-saving factor was that all of the insurance companies offered some kind of bonus programme in addition to their health services, which in some cases translated into cash bonuses of up to 325 euros per year. Others gave the option of extra tariffs that could lead to cost reductions via the reimbursement of contributions.
The best public health insurance companies in Germany
So, bearing all of these factors in mind, what are the scores on the doors? VIACTIV emerged as the overall winner with a score of 84,9, thanks to its comprehensive offer of additional services like osteopathy and dental care. The study’s authors note that this VIACTIV’s benefits and conditions make it particularly attractive to single people and couples without families.
Second place went to SBK Siemens (80,0), which was found to offer the best customer service overall, with emails responded to quickly and short waiting times for phone calls. AOK Saxony-Anhalt took third place with an overall score of 79,8, thanks to its strong score in the conditions category and its low additional contribution rate of 0,8 percent.
The overall ranking was as follows:
- VIACTIV Krankenkasse - 84,9
- SBK Siemens-Betriebskrankenkasse - 80,0
- AOK Sachsen-Anhalt - 79,8
- hkk Krankenkasse - 79,7
- AOK Plus - 79,6
- Techniker Krankenkasse - 79,0
- IKK Classic - 78,8
- Mobil Krankenkasse - 78,3
- AOK Bayern - 78,2
- DAK-Gesundheit - 77,4
- AOK Baden-Württemberg - 76,9
- Barmer - 76,8
- AOK Rheinland-Pfalz / Saarland - 76,3
- KKH Kaufmӓnnische Krankenkasse - 75,7
- Audi BKK - 75,5
- AOK Nordwest - 74,8
- AOK Niedersachsen - 74,7
- AOK Nordost - 74,1
- AOK Rheinland / Hamburg - 72,0
- Knappschaft - 71,4
- AOK Hessen - 71,2
Thinking of switching health insurance providers?
If you are considering changing health insurance, you need to have been with your previous provider for at least 12 months. Then it’s simply a case of taking out a policy with a new provider and letting your old provider know. Sometimes the new health insurance company will handle this whole process for you.
Before you do make the switch, however, the Institute for Service Quality recommends carefully considering your own preferences and healthcare needs to ensure you have the best combination of benefits, costs and service.