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Understanding German Healthcare

Feeling comfortable and safe in a new country is essential. Understanding how healthcare works in Germany is a big part of that. This guide will give you a quick overview of your options as a jobseeker from the EU in Germany. 

EU Jobseekers: Your Health Insurance Options 

If you’re from the EU and live in Germany, whether you use health insurance from your home country or Germany depends on where you officially live. If you live in Germany, you’ll likely need German health insurance. 

Temporary Stay (Posted/Seasonal Worker) 

If you are only staying temporary, f. e. as a seasonal worker, you can likely stay covered by your home country’s insurance. To use it in Germany, you’ll need the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a provisional replacement certificate (PEB). You can find out how to apply in your home country through the „National information and contacts“ section on the EHIC website. Keep in mind, the EHIC/PEB is only valid with doctors and hospitals in Germany’s public health system and is free of charge. 

Longer Stay  

If you’re looking for a job in Germany for a longer period, you might be eligible for benefits of entitlement to health care using Form S1. This form can be requested in your preferred language from your home country’s social security office. 

Settling in Germany 

If, as a jobseeker, you have already established your residence in Germany, you must take out health insurance here – there are two main systems: 

1. Statutory health insurance (GKV)  

As an EU citizen working in Germany, you are entitled to join the German statutory health insurance scheme (GKV). This scheme provides access to state-provided healthcare services, including doctor’s visits, hospital treatment, and prescription medicines. 

To join GKV, you must register with one of the Krankenkassen (health insurance funds) in Germany. There are several options to choose from, including large ones like Deutsche Angestellten-Krankenkasse (DAK), Barmer Ersatzkasse (BEK), Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), and Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse( AOK). Once you have registered with a Krankenkasse, you will receive a health insurance card that you can use to access healthcare services. 

2. Private health insurance (PKV) 

If you’re self-employed or earn a high salary, you might be eligible for private health insurance instead of GKV. However, it’s recommended to talk to an insurance advisor or a German health insurance provider before deciding. 

Remember: This is a general overview. For specific details on registration, contributions, or Krankenkasse options, consult your employer, local authorities, or your chosen Krankenkasse. 

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