When in Germany, do as Germans do! Get health insurance!
Germany requires all its citizens and permanent residents to be insured in the healthcare system. What this means is if you’re an expat in Germany, employed or commencing your studies, you will also be required to get health insurance like the rest of the citizens.
TK (Techniker Krankenkasse) is the largest public health insurance company in Germany, and one of the most common choices for expats. With over 10 million policyholders, TK insures a large majority of people living in Germany. It offers great coverage, affordable cost, and it’s widely comprehensive. More on everything just below!
1. Can I Get TK Health Insurance in Germany?
Germany’s healthcare system is divided into two sectors, public and private. Since a large majority of people living in Germany are entitled to public health insurance, most people can get TK insurance in Germany. We always recommend TK, especially to expats, because it is extremely helpful for non-German speakers. You can find its website, customer service, and application in English, if you’re an English speaker. Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) also fulfills all the health insurance requirements for a German visa application, so expats tend to find it really helpful.
Can I Get TK Insurance as an International Student in Germany?
Yes you can! Degree students in Germany are entitled to public (statutory) health insurance. This means that all international students who are studying a degree programme can become TK policyholders. Alternatively, students who are in preparatory or language courses, or are over the age of 30, are not entitled to public health insurance providers like TK.
2. What Does TK Insurance Cover?
TK offers its policyholders a variety of advantages while providing a wide range of benefits tailored to each person’s personal situation and needs. TK insurance covers the cost of services like GP (general practitioner) appointments, basic dental care, in-hospital treatment and out-patient treatments, among others.
TK insurance covers the following:
- GP Appointments. You can choose whichever doctor you want to visit, for as long as it is a licensed public health insurance doctor. The paperwork will be settled between the doctor and TK. The company also helps you make your doctor appointments in case you do not have time or are unable to do so.
- Hospital Treatment. Hospital care is always available when you’re insured with TK. In case you need to stay in the hospital for longer periods of time, then you will be required to co-pay. The co-payment amount is €10 per calendar day with a maximum 28 days per calendar year.
- Basic Dental Care. Basic dental examinations are covered by TK insurance twice per year.
- Medicine and Medical Dressings. Medical prescriptions from your doctor are covered by TK. However, co-payment of at least €5 (at most €10) will apply at the pharmacy.
- Vaccination costs recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) will be reimbursed by TK. This includes vaccinations required for private trips abroad.
- Screening examinations. Preventative examinations/check-ups are covered by TK insurance.
- Glasses and Lenses. The cost of glasses/lenses will be covered by TK when prescribed by a doctor, with a fixed amount between 10€ and 113€ per glass.
- Free Family Insurance. When insured with TK, you can also include your family members (immediate dependants) with no additional charges.
- Travel Abroad Insurance. Your TK eHealth card also includes an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on the back. You can use this while travelling abroad and you will be entitled to the same benefits as the residents of the country you’re visiting.
3. How Much Does TK Insurance Cost?
The cost of TK insurance depends on your income. Those who have a higher salary will be required to pay more for public health insurance. Basically, you are required to make two monthly contributions in Germany, the state contribution rate and the additional contribution rate, the amount of which depend on your monthly salary. If you’re confused, we will explain both terms below.
What Is the State Contribution Rate?
All public health insurance companies require the same state contribution rate. Currently, the state contribution rate is 14.6% of your income and it is split between the employee and employer equally. This means that both you and your employer will each have to pay 7.3% monthly.
What Is the Additional Contribution Rate?
A small percentage is added to the state contribution by public health insurance companies. This percentage is typically less than 1%, and TK has one of the lowest additional contribution rates. Starting from 2019, the additional contribution rate of TK is 0.7% and it is also equally divided between employers and employees, just like the state contribution rate. This means that you will only have to pay 0.35% additional contribution rate, if you are insured with TK.
How Much Does TK Insurance Cost for Students in Germany?
Students who are entitled to public health insurance, can get TK insurance and pay one of the most affordable prices. Students will be able to pay a discounted amount for healthcare with TK, at only €105.80 per month (€103.94 per month for students up to the age of 22). The fee includes a contribution to nursing costs and is related to long-term care.
4. How to Get TK Health Insurance?
To get TK health insurance in Germany, you simply have to fill out an application form. This means you can apply online, and you will receive a confirmation within, at most, 2 working days. You will be required to fill out an application form and submit it. Afterwards, you will receive an email confirming your health insurance with Techniker Krankenkasse (TK). You will also be required to submit a passport photo for the insurance card, which you can do online or through post. When you get to Germany (if you’re an expat), update your address and you will receive your insurance card through postal mail.
Just like everything else with TK, the application process is comprehensive and available in English for all those who do not speak German.
5. Why Should I Choose TK Health Insurance?
Apart from being one of the largest public health insurance companies, TK also offers the most affordable prices out there. But these are not the only properties that make TK a top choice. This health insurance company provides its policyholders numerous other benefits, and we will mention them below.
You Will Receive Coverage Abroad
Along with your TK health card, you will also receive the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You can use your EHIC if you’re traveling abroad outside of Germany, meaning in member states of the EU (including Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland). When you’re abroad, you simply have to show your EHIC to the public health hospitals and you will receive the same treatment as insured people in that country do.
TK also has special contracts with hospitals in various European countries. You will get the necessary medical assistance if you simply show your TK eHealth card. It also has special agreements with non-European countries as well, to ensure proper medical care everywhere.
You Can Insure Family Members for Free
If you are a TK member, you can insure your family members with no additional charge. More specifically, you can insure your relatives if they are your:
- Spouse or civil partner.
- Children (biological or adopted) if:
- They are under 18 years of age.
- They are not employed yet (up to 23 years old)
- Stepchildren and grandchildren who are primarily supported by you as the insured member.
- Foster children (if you’re not employed as their caretaker).
Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) Is Largely Expat-Friendly
If you’re an expat, you will love TK! Starting from the fact that it fulfills all the visa application requirements, to providing support services in different languages, including English, but not only. Communication is always an advantage, especially when it comes to health insurance. Its websites are simple, informative, and updated regularly.
It Has a High Customer Satisfaction Rate
The customer service at TK is available around the clock. Not only is is available at all times, but it also provides support in English for non-German speakers. They have a customer-oriented approach, which follows cases from the beginning up until completion. According to surveys conducted by the company, 96.4% of TK customers were overall satisfied with the services provided by TK.
Provides Help in Making Doctor Appointments
Of course, you have the possibility to make appointments directly with your doctor, whatever the case may be. However, if for some reason that is not possible, then the company can make your appointment for you through TK-AppointmentService. This service is free of charge for TK insurees.
In case you need to make your appointments quickly, then you are advised to go directly to your doctor. The doctor must be someone who is permitted to treat patients covered by public (statutory) health insurance.
TK Offers a Bonus Program for Its Policyholders
The TK Bonus Program offers a variety of benefits for its participants. This bonus program entails of customers “gathering” points, which are awarded based on the behavior of the individual. More specifically, customers get to earn points when they attend dental check-ups, sporting events, or courses (health-related) recognized by TK. For example, you will earn 200 points everytime you attend dental check-ups and keep your gums healthy, or if you run a marathon. The gathered points will then be rewarded in the form of cash.
This program allows customers to stay healthy, have fun gathering points, and earn along the way.
The TK App Helps You Save Time (And Paper)
You can deal with your health insurance related concerns using the comprehensive TK App on your smartphone. Through this app you can receive your insurance certificate for your university within a few seconds, use the TK bonus program of accumulated points digitally, download the membership certificate for the employer, reorder the insurance card, send messages to technicians, and many other helpful options.
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