You have to have health insurance – its a necessary evil of living in Germany – but you may not realise just how many juicy extras there are buried away in the fine print of your contract. I had a hard time researching this one because many insurance companies don’t push the extras much, especially not in English.
The basic logic here is about incentivising healthy activities to avoid illness and many of the health insurance companies have some sort of bonus scheme that you can use to not only get healthy but also reduce your premiums. I have used SBK here as an example, firstly because they have good service and loads of ways to either earn money back or get freebies, but also because they have the most comprehensive support in English language that I can find. The closest competitor are Techniker Krankenkasse and they only translate the bare minimum services before pushing you into the German pages. And their support hotline is very helpful but getting English language support can be hit and miss.
So after you have paid your monthly premium, you expect to be able to go to the doctor when sick and get any prescribed treatment paid for. To get the most though, try the following:
- Biennial (every two years 😉 ) general health check-up for over 35s
- Regular skin check up for over 18s
- Majority of the cost of all travel vaccines (e.g. anti-Malaria pills) – just make sure you see the doctor first and buy what they recommend
- Twice a year you can get a grant to sign up for health classes or to go on a trip to a wellness hotel
- Taking part in their Bonus Scheme can earn each adult up to €100 back and €60 for each child every year. Points are collected by having various regular check-ups for example or by joining sports or fitness clubs
Most insurance providers also offer a reduction in premium costs if you don’t go to the doctor often. All of the things listed above are excluded from this so you can get your premium reduction and still claim all of the extra benefits. Everything you need to know is detailed in this helpful pdf document.
If you are already having a look at the various health insurance options then you have probably already seen how complicated it is so having a company that explains everything in English is a massive advantage and will save time and money.