Private health insurance & tax return: Is private health insurance tax deductible?

If you've recently switched to private health insurance or plan to, you may be wondering whether you can even deduct the costs from your taxes. We explain where you must enter what and how you can declare the private health insurance in your tax return so that you also save money.

Medizinisch geprüft - Siegel
Reviewed by our insurance experts

Every year, it's time to file your tax return. The good news is that once you understand how the deductibility of your private health insurance premiums works, it's easy. The following year, all you must do is replace the numbers. If you have ever used self-pay services - i.e. services that you had to pay for yourself because they were not covered by your private health insurance - you should also check whether you can also claim these costs on your tax return.

The most important facts about private health insurance & tax return

To what extent are private health insurance contributions tax deductible?

You can claim part of the cost of private health insurance as a pension expense in your tax return, according to the Citizens' Relief Act (Bürgerentlastungsgesetz), which has been in effect since 2010. Specifically, the part that is considered basic coverage. The amount of this portion is certified annually by your private health insurance and you do not have to calculate it yourself. The basic portion corresponds to the benefits provided by the statutory health insurance funds. Depending on the tariff, at ottonova this is approx. 80%, which you can apply.

You can also deduct the basic coverage of your spouse and children from your taxes if they are privately insured. You can even deduct 100% of the compulsory nursing care insurance - but here, too, the maximum amount applies. This way you can save a considerable amount of taxes every year. Especially if you have a family.

Can I also claim optional benefits on my tax return?

You can claim the costs of your basic health insurance in full as special expenses, regardless of the amount involved. Things get more complicated if you want to deduct other insurances or optional benefits. This is only possible if your private health insurance contributions are low and below a certain maximum amount.

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The maximum amount that you can claim for tax purposes is:

  • 2,800 euros for self-employed persons
  • 1,900 euros for salaried employees and persons entitled to benefits

If you deduct the basic coverage of your private health insurance for tax purposes, you are usually already above the maximum amount. You just can't claim any further costs in this case. The situation is different if you are below the maximum amount. The monthly costs for your basic rate would therefore have to be less than 158 or 233 euros for you to still have room to maneuver.

If this is the case for you, you can claim further tax-reducing costs that fall under "other pension expenses".

Examples of other pension expenses:

The state also only recognizes additional benefits as tax-reducing if the maximum amount has not yet been exhausted. For example, if your plan includes treatment by a chief physician or a private room in a hospital, you can only deduct these extra benefits in this case. The same applies to daily sickness benefits.

What are the advantages of private health insurance?

Can I claim medical bills that I paid myself?

If you do not submit medical bills to your private health insurance, you can receive a premium refund from some providers. That's why some insured persons pay smaller bills out of pocket first. Some insured persons also pay for medical bills themselves because they have chosen a tariff with a high deductible.

At the latest when you do your tax return, the question arises:

What about the medical bills you pay yourself? Are they tax deductible?

Out-of-pocket medical bills are considered extraordinary expenses. That means you can only claim them if the extraordinary expenses exceed a certain limit. How high this limit is, depends on your marital status and your annual income

Here is an overview of all the key data for 2022:

Annual net income up to 15,340 euros

Annual net income up to 51,130 euros

Annual net income from 51,130 euros

If you are single, earn 50,000 euros net per year and have no children, your personal tax threshold is 3,000 euros. Anything less than this will not be recognized by the tax authorities. If you exceed the limit with your medical bills and other extraordinary expenses, you can declare the costs.

According to the Lohnsteuerhilfeverein, extraordinary expenses include, for example:

Savings Tip:

If you know you have several self-pay services coming up soon, you could target them to be done in the same year. Lasik surgery, invisible braces or acupuncture for stress can quickly add up to more than the limit for your extraordinary expenses. Calculate the amount in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Where do I enter private health insurance in the tax return?

The private health insurance contributions are considered "other pension expenses". Therefore, you must enter them in the annex "VOR" - namely in line 24. Here, however, you may only note the insurance contributions of the basic provision. If you have received refunds and reductions from your health or long-term care insurance, they must be noted on line 26. They reduce the total deductible amount.

If you used elective services or purchased supplemental insurance, you can enter corresponding amounts on line 28. If you received reimbursements, you must reduce or deduct them first.

You are an employee: What do you have to do if your employer pays a part of the private health insurance contributions?

If you are employed, you can also be a member of the private health insurance if you earn enough. In this case, your employer pays part of the contribution costs, which of course you cannot use for tax savings. The tax office charges the employer's contribution in full and deducts it from the cost of basic coverage. This means for you: You must include the employer's contribution for private health insurance in your tax return - the rest is taken care of by the tax authorities.

Extra tip: Cleverly deduct private health insurance & reduce taxes with consultants

You can also declare the insurance premiums for private health and long-term care insurance in another year in which the costs were incurred by paying your private health insurance premiums in advance for the entire year. If you are self-employed this could be an option to save taxes.

If you want to save even more taxes or don't want to bother with it at all, it can also be useful to bring a tax consultant on board who will calculate the tax savings of your private health insurance. Then you only must send him/her all the receipts and he/she will do the rest. However, if you only have a few standard expenses, it won't take that much time to do the tax return yourself.

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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!

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