health insurance for freelancers in germany 2020
Work in Germany,  Legal

Health Insurance for Freelancers in Germany (2020 Update)

Self-employed people in Germany are spoilt for choice when it comes to health insurance. Are you looking for health insurance for freelancers in Germany? Then read this overview of health insurances in Germany (and what might work best for you!).



Self-employed or freelancers can freely choose between the statutory (aka public) health insurance funds and private health insurance.

It is hard to say which type of health insurance is best for freelancers in Germany but it strongly depends on the personal, professional and family situation of the freelancer.

In this post, I have described an overview of the health insurance for freelancers in Germany.


Best health insurance for freelancers in germany



1. Types of Health Insurances for Freelancers in Germany


Freelancers in Germany can either become a member of the statutory health insurance or take out private health insurance.

Those who were previously employed full-time or insured under family insurance subject to compulsory social insurance have a choice between

  1. Statutory or Public health insurance / Gesetzliche krankenversicherung (GKV)
  2. Private health insurance / Privat krankenversicherung (PKV)
  3. Artists’ health insurance (only for on their profession) / Künstlersozialkasse (KSK) 

In the statutory health insurance system, the monthly contribution is based on average monthly income.

The more you earn as a self-employed person, the more you pay. In the case of low incomes, however, the health insurance company sets a minimum income. More about it later.

Your income is irrelevant to private health insurance. The monthly costs are mainly determined by what benefits you want.


Let’s take a look at all of them in detail.


freelancers health insurance in germany


1.1. Private Health Insurance for Freelancers in Germany


Private health insurance is open to almost all occupational groups without any preconditions.

Around nine million people in Germany have opted for private health insurance (PKV). There are various factors that are taken into account for joining private health insurance provider.

  • Your age
  • Your general health condition
  • Your profession
  • Your or your family’s medical history (This is relevant for those of you who have dependents)
  • Any preexisting health conditions or certain health risks

With very flexible options, freelancers can take out a private health plan that is individual to their personal needs and their chosen benefits, including the associated costs.

Freelancers interested in private health insurance in Germany can choose between more than 40 providers (such as Ottonova) and hundreds of monthly plans. It is, therefore, useful to concentrate on the offers that are tailored to the personal requirements of health insurance.

It is worth noting that even though private health insurance is advantageous for freelancers most of the time, switching back from a private to statutory health insurance is very hard (except for in some special cases.)




1.2. Statutory Health Insurance for Freelancers in Germany


There are over 70 million people with statutory health insurance (GKV) in Germany. About 51 million members pay contributions. The rest are insured free of charge, for example through family insurance.

There are different subcategories of public insurance in Germany, such as the Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse (AOK), the Betriebskrankenkasse (BKK), the Innungskrankenkasse (IKK) and the Ersatzkasse.

Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) is currently the largest provider of statutory health insurance in Germany, insuring about 10.4 million people in Germany. Barmer GEK is the second biggest provider with about 9.2 million members. 3rd place goes to DAK-Gesundheit (5.7 million).


private health insurance in germany



1.3. Künstlersozialkasse (KSK)


The Künstlersozialkasse (KSK) is a division of the Federal and Railway Accident Insurance. By implementing the Artists’ Social Insurance Act (KSVG), it ensures that independent artists enjoy similar protection under the statutory social insurance system as employees.

It is not itself a service provider but coordinates the payment of contributions for its members to health insurance of their choice and to the statutory pension and long-term care insurance.

Under KSK artists only have to pay half of the contributions out of their own pockets. The KSK tops up the amounts with a subsidy from the federal government (20%) and social security contributions from companies (30%) that utilize art and journalism.

The individual monthly contribution paid by an artist to the KSK depends on their income. If this income does not exceed the minimum threshold of EUR 3,900.00 per year, the KSK cannot normally be used (The only exception are beginners).


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2. How Much Does Freelance Health Insurance Cost


The amount of the contribution to the statutory health insurance depends on income. In private health insurance, on the other hand, this does not play a role. So high earning freelancers can benefit from lower health insurance costs of private health insurance.


2.1. Monthly contributions for statutory health insurance


The contribution to statutory health coverage is determined on the basis of the monthly income earned by the freelancer. Even if you earn little or nothing at all a minimum contribution has to be paid.

This makes public insurance too expensive for freelancers in Germany.

As far as the monthly cost is concerned, this is capped at the monthly maximum rate for public health insurance. The general contribution rate for voluntarily insured self-employed persons is 14.6 per cent (2020).



2.2. Monthly contributions for private health insurance


In private health insurance monthly income does not play a role. So both low and high earning freelancers can benefit from fair health insurance costs.

Freelancers with a relatively low income can start with a basic tariff. They can change to a more comprehensive tariff later as their income grows. Read Section 4 of this post to get more information about the monthly tariffs in both public and private health insurance in Germany.


private health insurance germany freelance



3. What are the Pros and Cons of Public and Private Health Insurance


3.1. Private Health Insurance

Here is an overview of some advantages and disadvantages of private health insurance for freelancers in Germany.


Advantages Disadvantages
Non-income based contribution – you pay for the coverage you choose Difficult change of provider
Better basic coverage when compared to statutory health insurance Monthly costs add up as the insured gets older
It is possible to create your own individual coverage by choosing add ons or modules Not possible to switch to the GKV from the age of 55
Short waiting times at the doctor’s and for a specialist appointment Each family member must be insured separately
Depending on PKV tariff, premium refund are possible.





3.2. Statutory Health Insurance

There are also some advantages and disadvantages of the statutory health insurance for freelancers in Germany.


Advantages  Disadvantages
Free co-insurance of children up to 25 years of age Monthly contributions depend on income
Calculable monthly contributions Only basic services and standard services are available
You can easily switch to other GKV provider No change to the GKV from 55 years of age possible
Benefits can be cancelled easily





private health insurance germany freelance



4. What Kind of Health Insurance Tariffs are Available


There is a marginal difference between German public health insurance providers in terms of standard care and monthly tariffs. Nearly every provider charges 14% of the gross income. As mentioned earlier, public health insurance fluctuates with your income. However, there is always a minimum amount every freelancer has to pay.

Freelancers with high income 

For well-heeled self-employed people, statutory health insurance is very expensive.

At the same time, health services only represent the most basic care. The freelancers with a high income are therefore better advised to take out private health insurance.

For freelancers with an income above 4,687.50 euros per month, the contribution without sickness benefits including long-term care insurance amounts to around 774 euros per month plus individual additional contribution. High-earning freelancers who are entitled to sickness benefit pay at least 800 euros.

Freelancers with a low-income

Who has a lower income, pays less…

However, there is a minimum contribution, of around EUR 177 per month plus additional contribution. All public health insurance providers in Germany assume a monthly minimum income of around EUR 1,038, even when the freelancer earns less than this threshold.


The situation is different with private health insurance.

Freelancers who are insured with public health insurance providers can get better benefits by switching to a private health insurance company.

Private health insurance providers offer tiered plans with various different benefits, add ons and contribution levels. You have the freedom to choose a tariff that suits your personal requirements and monthly budget with private health insurance for freelancers in Germany.

Ottonova is a well known German private health insurance provider for non-EU Expats. They offer a vast range of coverages – based on the length of your stay in Germany, your professional and personal circumstances. The biggest advantage with Ottonova is their English customer service and fully transparent FAQs which answer every possible German health insurance related question.

Click here to get a FREE consultation with Ottonova’s English speaking consultants.





Are you also a freelancer working in Germany? What do you think is the best health insurance for freelancers in Germany? Let us know in the comments below.


What is the best health insurance for freelancers in Germany

Hi there, I am the human behind this blog. If you could not tell by my photo, I am fueled by tea. My expat journey started at the age of 19. Germany has been my home for several years. I hope you will find some helpful insights if you are considering moving to Germany or already live here.

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