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    Important Insurances

    In German the system of social insurances is one of the main pillars of the social welfare state. It is embodied in the law and provides financial protection for the citizen from risks of life such as unemployment, sickness, old age, accidents and dependency on care. The following securities are part of the social system and therefore are compulsory for every person living in Germany:

    • Health insurance
    • Long-term care insurance
    • Accident insurance
    • Retirement pension insurance
    • Unemployment insurance

    For employees social security is obligation. Half of the insurance premium is paid by the employer. The other part is paid by the employee. It is deducted automatically from the salary. There is one exemption: employers completely pay the premiums of accident insurance.

    By paying the premiums you acquire the right to use the respective benefits offered in the different areas of application. The system is based on the principle of solidarity. The premium depends on the salary earned. The premiums of the health and retirement pension insurances don´t increase any further from a certain income level on.

    Soucre: BAMF

    Health insurance

    In Germany, two systems of health insurance exist:

    • Statutory health insurance and
    • Private health insurance

    The statutory health insurances are cheaper than private insurances. In the statutory system the premium is calculated based on the income. The more you earn, the more you pay. Nevertheless, all members receive the same catalogue of treatments. Which treatments are covered by the insurance doesn´t depend on the amount of the contribution that is paid by the employee but on the fact which treatment is needed. But usually, when there are several possible treatments, only the cheapest is paid by the insurance.

    All members of a private health insurance pay the same base rate which depends on the age. The older you are, the more you pay. The lowest base rate is equal to the highest rate of the statutory system. This rate grants you the right to use all treatments that are offered by the statutory system as well. Furthermore, additional treatments, that aren´t included in the statutory health insurances, are covered by the private insurances (e.g. alternative practitioner, chief physicians, health improvement stays, single rooms in hospitals). For certain treatments the insured has to commit high co-payments. All in all the amount of contributions paid depends on the general degree of healthiness, on the gender, age and the desired benefits and treatments covered by the insurance. Advantage of private health insurances is the fact that the insured persons can freely choose the treating physician. In Germany there are medical offices that are exclusively for members of private health insurances. These medical offices often times are better equipped and waiting times are shorter.

    Who needs a health insurance?

    All persons who live in Germany are obliged to be member of a health insurance.

    Job-seeking third country nationals have to be insured in their home country or choose a private insurance in Germany. Check the validity of your health insurance in Germany. The insurance company must confirm in writing and in German language that the insurance coverage is also valid in Germany and which treatments will be covered.

    Job-seeking citizen of EU- member states can request the European Health Insurance Card. This document is issued by the health insurance in the home country. The insured person remains a member of the insurance in the home country but also receives treatments for free in Germany. However, only basic and emergency-treatments are covered. Therefore, it is advisable to extend the entitlement to benefit when a longer stay in Germany is planned. This can be done by requesting the European form S1 from the health insurance in the home country. With this document you remain member of the health insurance in your home country but have the right to use all treatments in Germany that are covered by the German statutory health insurances as well.

    As soon as you have found a position in Germany, you are obliged to become a member of a German health insurance. For doing so, EU-nationals require the Structured Electronic Document SED 040 or SED 041 which proves that the person already has been member of a statutory health insurance in a EU-country previously. When you were insured privately you have to become a member of a private health insurance in Germany as well. In general, spouses and children who live in Germany as well are included in the insurance of the employee.

    Self-employed persons can freely choose between a private and a statutory health insurance. the same accounts for employees whose salary exceeds the contribution assessment ceiling (Beitragsbemessungsgrenze).

    Advice: Please deal with the issue of a health insurance at an early stage. The employer will ask for your health insurance before start of work as they have to pay the social security contributions to the health insurance.  

    Social security number: Your future employer will also ask for your social security number. This is generated automatically as soon as you register at a statutory health insurance.

    Long-term care insurance

    The long-term care insurance gives financial support in the case of long-term care dependency so that the basic social security is provisioned. Every person that is member of a statutory health insurance is automatically insured in the case of long-term care dependency as well. Members of private health insurances have to purchase additional long-term care insurance.

    Retirement pension insurance

    The statutory retirement pension insurance provides the living in old age after retiring from employment or in the case of occupational disability. Persons who are employed with a German employer are automatically insured under the pension insurance scheme and the contributions are immediately deducted from the salary. The amount of contribution is calculated based on the income and on the amount of years of in-payment. The pension paid is lower that the income earned previously. Additional private pension insurances are a possibility to augment the basic financial security of the statutory pension insurance.

    Unemployment insurance

    All persons that are employed are automatically financially secured against the risk when losing the position. The contributions are immediately deducted from the salary. When you were employed for six months and consequently paid contributions to the unemployment insurance for six months, you are entitled to receive unemployment benefits when losing the job.

    Accident insurance

    The statutory accident insurance gives support to all employees, vocational trainees, students, pupils, job-seekers and retirees in the case of an accident at and on the way to and from work or educational institutions. The accident insurance is a compulsory in social security insurance for which no premiums have to be paid.

    Further advisable insurances

    Next to the compulsory insurances there are many additional insurances which are advisable to have. For every insurance contributions have to be paid. Therefore, you should consider carefully which insurance you need. The most common insurances are the following:

    • General liability insurance
    • Household contents insurance
    • Occupational disability insurance
    • Life insurance
    • Automobile liability insurance

    When you own a car or a motorcycle you are obliged to have an automobile liability insurance. Very important is a general liability insurance as well which pays for the damage unconsciously caused by you or by your underage children.

    Source: BAMF

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