Preventive care in private health insurance

More than 40% of Germans avoid preventive health care. But these examinations make a lot of sense! We explain which treatments are worthwhile at what age and what distinguishes preventive examinations in private health insurance from public treatments.

Medizinisch geprüft - Siegel
Reviewed by our insurance experts

The benefits of private health insurance briefly

In private health insurance, insured persons receive comprehensive benefits that exceed the basic benefits in public health insurance benefits catalog.

Depending on the chosen tariff, insured persons in private health insurance can adapt the benefits to their individual needs and place an emphasis, e.g. on preventive examinations or alternative practitioners.

The most important benefits in private health insurance include:

What benefits does ottonova's private health insurance include? All information about our private health insurance and our different tariffs - find out now!

Public vs. privately insured: Here's how preventive checkups differ

Although every insured person has a right to certain free preventive services from their health insurer, over 40% of Germans in public health insurance going to the doctor for checkups. This was the finding of a 2018 survey by the market research institute GfK. The preventive examinations perceived so sparsely differ by gender, by different age groups and by whether the patient has public or private insurance.

Public care preventive checkups: these services are part of the program

The costs for many examinations are borne by the public health insurance funds. But other than private health insurances they have age restrictions. These services are:

Preventive medical checkup in private health insurance: What privately insured persons can expect

Private health insurers are also guided by the above-mentioned framework program. Their range of preventive and treatment services depends on the chosen tariff but is usually much broader.

These examinations are often additionally reimbursed by private health insurers:

Private patients also have advantages in terms of flexibility: they can often have their health checked regardless of their age and have the option of including alternative treatment methods in the range of services covered by their tariff - such as naturopathic treatments.

Unlike the public health insurance, ottonova reimburses most preventive examinations regardless of age or earlier.

The situation is different for patients with public health insurance: If they want to take advantage of special additional treatments for preventive care, things can get pretty unpleasant. As soon as so-called "IGeL" services are involved, patients with public health insurance are asked to pay.

Preventive care: What is an IGeL service?

We are not dealing with a prickly insectivore here. Individual health services - IGeL for short - are treatments that are not covered by public health insurance. As a result, people with public health insurance must pay for them out-of-pocket. And they pay a lot for the comprehensive preventive examinations: Every year, people with public health insurance pay around 1 billion euros for IGeL. Experts have been arguing vociferously for years about the benefits of these examinations - they could lead to unnecessary interventions; the consumer groups complain. The IGeL services are a sensible addition to the range of services offered by public health insurers, countered the German doctors' associations.

For privately insured patients, many benefits, and services that legally insured patients must pay for themselves are a matter of course anyway. However, the reimbursement and scope of preventive services depends on the individual insurance contract.

Our IGeL tips for privately insured persons:

Before you choose a private health insurance plan, consider which preventive examinations make sense for you. Have you had any previous illnesses? Does your family tend to have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or colon cancer? Voilà, you should include these preliminary examinations with the corresponding services in your private health insurance tariff.

You would like to have a check-up, but you are not sure which preventive examinations are covered by your private health insurance? Use the ottonova advantage and just ask: Our concierge service makes it easy!

Checklist: Which checkups you need at which age

You may not have to worry about glaucoma or diabetes when you're 20, and no one is likely to recommend a rubella vaccination when you're 40. Check-ups for early detection of diseases are related to the age at which the probability of certain diseases statistically increases.

Find out when which check-ups is recommended and what exactly is examined in our checklist.

Testimonial Image

You can of course get a disease earlier than it on average statistically appears first. That’s why ottonova doesn’t have age restrictions when it comes to preventative check-ups!

Espen Markus Mjøs Health insurance expert

Preventive medical checkups

0 to 18 years

20 to 35 years

Prevention from 20
  • From the age of 20, women should have an annual check-up with a gynecologist: here they are tested for the first signs of cervical cancer.
Prevention from 30
  • Women over 30 should also have an annual breast exam with their gynecologist to keep their risk of breast cancer in check.
  • Every 5 years, women can have an HPV test for early detection of cervical cancer - during the exam, a swab is taken and tested in the lab for HR viruses (private screening benefit).
  • Patients at risk of stroke now have the option of having the direction and speed of the blood measured by means of Doppler sonography of the large vessels (head, neck, abdomen, legs). This enables the doctor to detect narrowing and occlusion (private preventive service).

35 to 45 years

Prevention from 35
Prevention from 40

From the age of 45

Prevention from 45
  • Men should have a screening examination for prostate cancer at this age. Here, the doctor palpates the genitals and associated lymph nodes in the groin and the prostate from the rectum.
  • An alternative is the annual PSA test for the early detection of prostate cancer, a blood test in which the amount of "prostate-specific antigen is determined (private screening service).

Prevention from 50

Prostate examinations and colonoscopies don't seem particularly pleasant at first glance, but they are the fountain of youth for your health. After all, in ten years' time you'll still want to be running dynamically past young joggers in the park - just like today. So, what are you waiting for? Go for a check-up and prevent diseases.

Espen Markus Mjøs
HIER SCHREIBT Espen Markus Mjøs

Espen Markus - originally from Norway - is sales agent in ottonova's English sales team. He's in contact with potential customers every day and answers Expats' questions about German health insurance.

ottonova sales experts
HIER SCHREIBT ottonova sales experts

Our ottonova team of experts has over 40 years of experience in private health insurance and answers questions about it every day. What are old-age provisions and for whom does private health insurance make sense? What is the actuarial interest rate and which tariff is right for you? They know!

More to read?