Everyone living in Germany is required by law to have either private or statutory health insurance. Which one you should take out depends on your individual circumstances.  To get your work visa you need either public health insurance or private insurance. The public health insurance starts at the earliest with the beginning of your employment. To cover the gap between entry and start of employment, embassies require the combination of public health insurance and a incoming insurance or also called travel insurance.

Public Health Insurance vs. Private Health Insurance

It is recommended that you choose the Health Insurance that suits your needs best.

Public Health Insurance

About 80% of all Germans have statutory health insurance.  
The statutory health insurance in Germany is one of the best in the world. If you are employed in Germany and your gross salary in 2023 is less than 66,600  euros per year, the membership in the public health insurance is mandatory. 

  • Works for all residence permits 

  • Best option for families 

  • < 66 600€ salary per year 

  • VALID – start of employment

Incoming/Travel Insurance

People from non-EU countries usually need a visa to enter Germany. In this case, you must already present proof of health insurance when applying for a visa.The statutory insurance is valid from the start of employment. A travel or incoming insurance covers the gap from the date of entry and the start of employment. Many embassies require a combination of statutory insurance + incoming insurance.  

  • Cover the gap for

  • Visa required

  • VALID – arrival day to Germany

Private Health Insurance

Almost 20% of people in Germany are privately insured. Employees earning more than €66,600 gross salary in 2023, self-employed, students and artists are entitled to join the private insurance. 

  • Works for all residence permits 

  • Best option for healthy singles

  • > 66 600€ salary per year 


The German health insurance system is a universal, multi-payer system that provides coverage to nearly the entire population. It consists of two main branches: statutory health insurance (SHI) and private health insurance (PHI). 

Yes, health insurance is mandatory for all residents in Germany. If you are employed, you are required to have statutory health insurance. 

If you are employed, you have the free choice to choose a statutory health insurance company. If you are self-employed or earn above the income threshold (66.600/Year2023), you can choose between private health insurance and statutory health insurance. 

The cost of private health insurance in Germany varies depending on several factors, including your income, age, and health status and type of coverage. If you are insured with the public health insurance, the average contributionrate is 16,2 % of your gross salary. You will get an employer’s allowance of 50%.

German health insurance covers a wide range of medical services, including doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, and preventive care. Some services may require a co-pay or deductible. 

To access healthcare in Germany, you will need to choose a general practitioner (GP) who will be your primary care provider. If you need specialized care, your GP will refer you to a specialist.

If you have statutory health insurance, you are generally free to choose any doctor who accepts your insurance. If you have private health insurance, your coverage may be cover private treatments and hospitals in addition. 

If you have statutory health insurance, you are typically covered for emergency medical treatment abroad within the European Countries. If you have private health insurance, you will need to check your policy to see what is covered. Normally they have a worldwide coverage. 

If you have statutory health insurance, you can switch providers once a year during an open enrollment period. If you have private health insurance, you may be able to switch providers, but it will depend on the terms of your policy. If you choose private health insurance you are not allowed to switch to a public health insurance. 

If you lose your job in Germany, you will typically continue to be covered by statutory health insurance for a limited period of time. If you are self-employed or have private health insurance, you will need to make other arrangements for coverage.