Private health insurance (PKV)

Everyone resident in Germany is required by law to have valid health insurance, expats included. You have the choice between public and private health insurance. Let’s look at the basic elements of private health insurance, known in German as private Krankenversicherung – or PKV for short.

Eligibility for private health insurance

Not everyone is eligible for private health insurance. Let’s look at the basic requirements:

  • Employees must have a salary above the annual income threshold, which is currently set at €64,350 per year (2021). If your salary is below the threshold, you must choose a public insurance provider.
  • Self-employed people are also eligible for private insurance.

If you are still unsure about your eligibility, you can contact ottonova at any time.

Benefits of private health insurance

Unlike public health insurance (also known as statutory health insurance), private insurance providers are not bound by the principle of cost-effectiveness. This means private insurers can tailor their coverage and tariffs to their policyholders’ needs and offer a higher standard of healthcare.

General benefits include:

  • Greater variety of choice for patients
  • Shorter waiting times
  • A more extensive range of treatments (including dental)
  • More privacy as an inpatient
  • Greater flexibility

Private health insurance in Germany is markedly cheaper than in many other countries. This is especially true for expats, who can opt out of the old-age saving system. To learn more about the costs and benefits of private health insurance, check out our detailed explainer article.

Make sure you check out ottonova’s special expat tariff, which offers outstanding value, excellent coverage, and 24/7 support from English-speaking insurance experts.


What is the process?

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 enrolment.

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. 

Do you pay me back money if I don´t make usage of the insurance?

At the moment we do not offer any money back if you don´t make usage of the insurance, as we want you to go and have your annual check-ups. 

However, we offer reward points via our Health X program. Read more about Health X here.

What is the Pflegepflichtversicherung and how does it work?

The long-term nursing care insurance "Pflegepflichtversicherung" is a mandatory insurance for everyone who lives in Germany. This insurance will cover you if you require long-term care and need external help.

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