Changing private health insurance – when is it worth it?

Your current tariff is too expensive, or you want better services? Then it is time to think about private health insurance tariff change. This can be worthwhile, because tariffs sometimes differ greatly in price despite similar services. We show how the private health insurance tariff change works and what needs to be taken into account.

Medizinisch geprüft - Siegel
Reviewed content by our insurance experts

You are legally insured and would like to switch to private health insurance? Visit our guide Switching from GKV to the PKV – there we have summarized all the information for you!

What are the reasons for a tariff change in private health insurance?

There are many reasons why a tariff change in private health insurance can be worthwhile. Usually, the needs of the insured person change or the insurer makes adjustments to its tariffs. The following points may be in favour of a tariff change:

Increase in premiums in private health insurance: Does a change of health insurance policies help?

If the private health insurance adjusts its contributions upwards, it is possible to terminate and change immediately, regardless of the minimum contract duration. This is where the special right of termination applies.

There are two options available to you to avoid the increase in contributions:

1. Change to a cheaper tariff

2. Switching private health insurance providers

Within private health insurance, savings are possible by reducing benefits, increasing the deductible or changing to a different tariff. However, according to the Consumer Protection Agency, if you are insured with full or supplementary insurance, you have the right to switch to a cheaper tariff with the same benefits. As a rule, the old-age provisions are retained. If you want more benefits or want to reduce the deductible, a new risk and health assessment is required and the contribution may increase.


When switching to a very cheap tariff, the benefits are often worse and there are fewer provisions for old age. Attracting offers with particularly cheap private health insurance rates should therefore always be questioned!

Switch to another private health insurance or optimise the existing private health insurance plan?

Switching to another insurance company is not always a good idea. This is because the old-age provisions that have been accumulated over the years cannot be withdrawn, or only partially, (this is referred to as the transfer value).

In some cases, however, the change of insurance may well be worthwhile if you switch to a more cost-effective tariff whose contribution, despite the increased age of entry, is still lower than the contribution increase of the current private health insurance provider. Basically, you should decide as soon as possible to switch to a provider with more stable contributions.

Inform in advance: Who offers the most stable contributions and good performances at the lowest possible cost?

It is often enough to switch to a different tariff at the insurance company. In the case of lower benefits, the health examination is also omitted. It is only necessary if more benefits are to be maintained. In any event, the pension provisions that have been saved will be retained. This type of PKV tariff change is possible at any age!

How does the private health insurance tariff change work within the insurance company?

If the current tariff is too expensive or you want even better services, then a tariff change within the company makes sense.

Do you know the private health insurance right of exchange?

You have the statutory right (§ 204 VVG) to switch to a similar rate within the insurance company. Acquired rights remain in place. For example, you do not have to pay risk surcharges, even if you are no longer as fit as you were when you signed a contract. However, this only applies if you switch to a tariff with similar services. In the case of additional benefits, it is quite possible that the private health insurance provider requires a risk surcharge. Alternatively, a benefit exclusion for the additional benefits is possible.

Compare the possible alternative tariffs of your private health insurance

The first thing is to collect as much information as possible. It is therefore advisable to ask the insurance company for a comparison of all possible tariffs – including benefits and contributions.

In order to avoid being fed up with a limited offer of third-class tariffs, the demand can be made even more specific. This is especially important for insurers who have a wide range of tariffs and can only present you with a selection for the sake of clarity.

Now it is time to look closely and compare the offers with the current contract. Which benefits are added, which ones are omitted?

The tariffs can be checked, for example, on the following questions:

It is important that you are well aware of your personal needs and financial scope. This ensures that important services are guaranteed in the future. It is also possible to arrange a consultation with the private health insurance company.

What must be taken into account when changing a private health insurance tariff?

Which price-performance ratio in private health insurance is still optimal?

Many private health insurances offer attractive new customer rates to attract more members. They are also open to existing customers!

However, it may also be that the existing rates of the insurance company have become generally unattractive. For example, because insurance has recently accumulated a lot of contracts with people who are sick above average.

The high costs then have to be borne by the respective collective – the premiums thus increase more than with other insurances. But it may also be that needs have changed over time. Maybe a two-bed room in the hospital is enough now or you have discovered naturopathy for yourself.

Either way, it pays to check your tariff prophylactically every few years. In the best case scenario, by optimizing the health insurance policy, a two- to three-digit amount can be saved or the benefits of private health insurance can be significantly improved.

Why are our customers so satisfied with ottonova?

According to the latest KUBUS Study*, ottonova is once again one of the best rated insurances:

According to the results, no health insurance provider is recommended more often by their clients than ottonova!

*KUBUS Study 2022

Our tip: Design the tariff change request individually

Most private health insurances adhere to the guidelines for tariff change. This means that they advise changing customers personally and respond to relevant inquiries within the next 15 working days. They also offer cheaper tariff alternatives to people over 55 years of age.

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Thank you for your interest in ottonova, !

In Germany, the private health insurance income threshold for employees working in Germany is set by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).

Unfortunately, we're not able to offer you private full-comprehensive health insurance, due to the information provided.

If you live in Germany and work remotely for a foreign employer, please contact us.

If you are insured in the public system in Germany, we can offer you our excellent top-up dental insurance - to cover the gaps in your public health insurance.

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Are you unsure whether you should change the tariff or rather the insurer right away?

Our private health insurance experts will be happy to advise you on your options and the benefits of a tariff or provider change - free of charge and without obligation.

When does a change of insurer make sense?

A change to a future-proof and price-stable private health insurance can be worthwhile in the long term if the tariffs of your insurer have become too expensive overall or if you lack important services in the tariffs of your previous private health insurance. Lack of service can also lead to dissatisfaction with your current private health insurance.

An analysis of the market and a change of insurer is then worthwhile especially at a young age and in good health. Background: In the event of a change, a health check with the new insurer is required, which may be accompanied by risk surcharges. It should also be taken into account in the calculation that a part of the saved pension provisions is lost when changing the insurer. Particularly in the case of longer contract terms, a change should therefore be well thought out.

What do you have to consider when changing a private health insurance?

  1. Age of entry when switching health insurance
  2. Amount of contributions
  3. Stability of contributions
  4. Provisions for old age & transfer value

If your current private health insurance increases its contributions, it may be worth switching to another private health insurance provider. All tariffs are open to you in case of a change.

Age of entry

When changing the private health insurance, age plays a role in the calculation of the new tariffs. Especially for younger insured persons, switching to a cheaper private health insurance can be financially worthwhile. Older generations should think carefully about a change or weigh up the individual options. Background: The rates of the private health insurance are calculated depending on the state of health and age. Depending on the case, the contribution may be higher due to risk surcharges, or the application may be rejected.

If you are dissatisfied with your current insurer, you should not wait too long and examine the market for suitable alternatives.


The longer you wait to switch health insurance, the higher the contributions can become, as age and health affect the calculation. An early change is therefore worthwhile. So do not wait unnecessarily long if you are dissatisfied with your current health insurance!

Amount of contributions

Many switch to a health insurer with a lower monthly contribution. The more favourable tariff should be examined not only for the monthly savings potential, but also for differences in performance. Services such as the acceptance of aids can make a big difference here. Therefore, the new tariff should be reviewed in the light of personal needs, both now and in the future.

In terms of saving potential, you should also consider that some of your previously saved retirement provision may be lost. You should include this in your calculation.

Contributions should also be taken into account in your decision. Often, this type of "cheap tariffs" will see an increase in contributions in the near future. A repeated or permanent change of health insurer may lead to disadvantages for you, e. g. due to lost pension provisions.

So it is not only important how much you can save with a new tariff, but also how stable the tariff is calculated.

Stability of contributions

At a young age, you pay more contributions to private health insurance than you actually need for your health care costs. The difference is called the savings share and is set aside by the private health insurance in the form of retirement provisions in order to keep your contribution as stable as possible in old age.


You can choose a contribution relief component as part of the private health insurance contract. This means that you pay an additional fixed amount, so that when you retire, your contribution is reduced by a fixed contribution. ottonova also offers this contribution-relief tariff.

What happens to the old-age provisions?

In private health insurance, you pay old-age provisions so that your contribution remains stable even in old age. In the event of a tariff change or a change of provider, the transfer value indicates how much you can take the age provisions with you. You can ask for this "Übertragungswert" early from your private health insurance.

Did you conclude the contract of your private health insurance in 2009 or after?

Then you can transfer some of your old-age provisions to your new insurance contract. The portion of the provision which would have been saved in the basic tariff under the same conditions may be carried over.

This also reduces your contribution. Especially if your previous contract is not running for too long and the age reserves you have built up so far are not too high, it may be worthwhile to switch to another private health insurance provider.

Did you conclude the contract of your private health insurance before 2009?

For all contracts entered into before 2009, a change of private health insurance would mean that you lose a part of your accrued pension provisions, another part you can take with you to your new health insurance provider. This part is called "Übertragungswert" in Germany.

Your retirement provisions at ottonova will be preserved

What if after the change you realize you don't like the new health insurance? With ottonova no problem, we will refund you your entire age reserves when changing your private health insurance, i. e. your reserves to provide for old age - retroactively up to 2 years!

The ottonova money back guarantee.*


Just sign your contract with ottonova.


Test our services and services.


In case of termination, we will pass on your complete ageing reserves.

Why is it worth switching to ottonova in the long term?

With ottonova, the changeover works in just seven steps – maximally simple and 100% digital.

  1. Appointment & Consultation
  2. Application via contribution calculator
  3. Responding to health questions
  4. Concluding an insurance contract
  5. Termination of your current insurance
  6. Activate account in the app
  7. Enjoy all the benefits of your digital insurance

Return to statutory health insurance?

If you go back to legal, your retirement provisions will be passed on to the collective. In any case, a change to the GKV is only possible if the obligation to insure arises again (e. g. when changing from self-employment to permanent employment with a salary below the annual wage limit). In the long term, the increase in contributions is much higher in statutory health insurance, especially for well-earners who pay the maximum contribution, than in private health insurance. This is 977.55 euros per month.

*If you decide to switch your health insurance to another German private health insurer, we will transfer 100% of your aging provisions to your new health insurer. To do this, you must terminate your full health insurance contract in due time at the end of the second insurance year. For details, please refer to § 14 of the relevant General Insurance Conditions (AVB/KKV). In this way, you can also receive the most favorable premium possible in your new insurance. Unfortunately, a payout to you is not possible. A repayment or transfer will also not take place if you change to the statutory health insurance or abroad.

FAQ about private health insurance

We can help you write your cancellation letter for your current insurer and send it to you by email. You simply need to add your insurance number and signature and then send it to your insurer. We are unfortunately not allowed to contact your current insurer directly.

Switching to ottonova private health insurance is very easy. But don't worry, you can't accidentally switch with just one click. You also have a 14-day right of withdrawal.

  1. Get a consultation: We help you choose the right rate with the right components.
  2. Account: Create an account to get a personalized offer.
  3. Information: Share some personal information with us and answer questions about your health. This will take a maximum of 10 minutes.
  4. Confirmation: Review and confirm your information in the overview.
  5. Review: Our application team will contact you with any questions about your health information. (Maybe you need to do a medical check-up.)
  6. Offer: Receive and confirm our final offer.
  7. Account details: Enter your account details and download some documents.
  8. PIN entry: Request a one-time pin and complete your desired coverage with one click.

In Germany, you are not allowed to hold two health insurance policies at the same time. Therefore, you will need to cancel your current health insurance once you've signed a policy with ottonova. Your new ottonova health insurance coverage starts as soon as your old policy expires. We can also help you with the cancellation of your old contract.

Instead of a tariff jungle, we only have a few tariffs. It's easy to find out online which option is right for you. Look at our tariff pages and receive an honest recommendation from us. Of course, you can also get personal advise.

We are happy to schedule a call to find out your personal needs and provide you with an initial quote. We will then help you and guide you through our online enrollment.

In the next step you will speak with our medical underwriters regarding health topics and your financial situation. If you have already been insured in Germany for the last three years, we will then provide you with your finalized offer. Otherwise we will organize a medical check-up for you.

We work with a company called Medicals Direct that will send a private (English-speaking) nurse to come meet you at your preferred location. They will do a general check up and take a blood sample.

Many private health insurers offer so-called "cheap tariffs", which are particularly attractive at a young age. They do not cost much and you are still healthy and fit. Such prices are made possible by significantly limited services. It is not clear to everyone what they are getting into with such a tariff. Often, private cheap tariffs do not even come close to the performance level of the statutory health insurance companies. In the event of a claim, the surprise is great when the insurance company indicates high deductibles or maximum reimbursement amounts in the contract. Switching to a better tariff usually requires a new risk assessment and is therefore often not possible.

With ottonova you can choose between four tariffs for full insurance, with each one you choose excellent insurance cover. This includes a percentage deductible and comprehensive coverage in all relevant areas, such as remedies and aids, cure and rehab, preventive care and acute treatment. With all of our ottonova full and supplementary insurances, you have the good feeling that you are well covered all round.

The ottonova Clinic 2-bed and ottonova Clinic 1-bed tariffs contribute to your old age reserves which allows your premiums to be as steady as possible over the entire term of the contract.

As steady as possible means that we won’t change your premiums as a result of your age, but only in the event of changes to medical costs. If providing accommodation in 1-bed rooms becomes more expensive, for example, we must then take this into account when calculating premiums and adjust them if necessary.

On the other hand, the Flex option for younger adults is calculated without contributing to your old age reserves. This means that your premiums can change as you get older. Feel free to get advice from our experts.

Minimum contract period is two calendar years (from the month you started till the rest of the calendar year + the next calendar year), but if you leave the country earlier, then you simply submit your deregistration certificate. We will close your contract and wish you the best of luck on your journey! If you are having a status change and become mandated to be in the public insurance, this also prevails over the minimum contract time with us.

After the minimum contract runtime, you have the option to cancel 3 months before the end of the calendar year (September). Please provide us with proof of a new insurance policy by the beginning of the coming year, as this is required in Germany.

If you are young, self-employed and are likely to pay the maximum premium for public health insurance, if you value high-quality benefits for your health and if you want to make yourself independent of demographic change and make individual provisions for later.

After your policy is finalized it will not be adjusted again based on the variables of aging, increases in health care needs or increases in salary.

Yes, provided you are not yet 55 years of age, and you are required to have health insurance. However, switching back to public health insurance may have its disadvantages. We would be happy to advise you on the subject. It's much harder to switch from the age of 55. Lawmakers have taken measures in this regard by introducing the basic coverage plan (Basistarif).

The so-called basic coverage plan was introduced in 2009. The basic coverage plan is like public health insurance in the private sector for private policyholders who are unable to pay their premiums, or who do not wish to pay more than they would for public health insurance. The coverage is identical to that offered by public health insurance. If you are in need of assistance, you may switch from a normal plan to the basic coverage plan.

If you don't wish to pay more than you would for public health insurance, you may do so from the age of 55 even if you are not in need of assistance. Thanks to the old-age provisions which you have accumulated over a long policy term, your basic coverage plan premium will be significantly below the maximum premium you would pay for public health insurance.

As you are not making any contributions to your old age reserves with the Flex option, you are only paying the monthly premium for an average person of your age for the benefits in your tariff. This can be very expensive in old age, up to a premium of 200 euro per month, so we like you to contribute to your old age reserves no later than the end of your 39th year to avoid this situation. Especially as your pension will often be less than your income when you were working.

If you’ve chosen the Flex option and haven't contacted us by your 39th birthday, we will automatically convert your tariff into the ottonova Clinic 2-bed tariff, i.e., with contributions to your old age reserves. You do not have to do anything yourself. You will then have a new premium from this point which cannot be changed on the grounds of your age.

You may also choose to switch from the Flex option to the ottonova Clinic 2-bed tariff earlier, or even to the ottonova Clinic 1-bed tariff.

Marie-Theres Rüttiger
HIER SCHREIBT Marie-Theres Rüttiger

Marie-Theres is online editor for health and insurance topics at ottonova. She researches and writes mainly about private health insurance, (e-)health and digital innovation that make life better.

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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