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Social security: Welcome to the Secure Side!
To go abroad for a time, for example to work or to study, involves a lot of willingness, ambition and courage. But with all the uncertainties that are involved with a move to Germany, you can be sure of one thing: here you’ll be on the secure side. Because during your stay you will enjoy the protection of the German social security system. And this social net is, with all modesty, one of the most efficient social systems in the world.
Health insurance was the first social security. It will be introduced more extensively, but first a few quick facts:
Statutory health insurance companies.
Employees, school children, students, pensioners and others (family members without their own income are co-insured free of charge.)
Advancement of health, disease prevention and protection against the risk of disease.
Dues are paid by the employer and employee together. The employee is only responsible to contribute a certain share of his gross salary. With the TK, this share is equal to 0.8 percent. The employer is responsible for half of the remaining amount.
German legislators see employees almost exclusively as being especially in need of protection, because they are dependent upon their ability to work to secure their livelihoods. Employees are therefore inherently “automatically” safeguarded in all branches of social security (pension, unemployment, accident, long-term care, and medical insurances). Hereby it is almost always a case of so-called compulsory insurance. It takes effect immediately upon commencement of employment. It also cannot be circumvented by agreements or contracts between employer and employee. There are however a few exceptions, for example for only minimal, short-term jobs or a salary starting at a certain level. The employee, with few exceptions, does not have to take care of his own insurance coverage. He does though have to decide which provider he wishes to be insured with. The employer calculates the contributions to social security, keeps back the employee’s portion out of his wages and pays the collective dues. In addition the employer registers it’s employee with his chosen health insurance provider at the beginning of his employment.
Spouses and children are co-insured with the health insurance provider at no charge, as long as they have no or only a very small individual income at their disposal. This applies to family members who live in Germany or in a country with which a health insurance agreement exists.There are different age limits for children.
The contribution amount is always based on the amount of the gross salary of the occupation. The current contribution rate of the TK is 15.4 percent of the gross salary. For health insurance the employee is initially only responsible for a certain share of his gross pay. With the TK, this share is equal to 0.8 percent. The remaining contribution amount is financed jointly by the employer and employee. For long-term care insurance an additional amount of 0.25 percent is added, which however only childless insured persons have to pay after their 23rd year of age.
The Most Important Benefits of Health Insurance
For treatment in a hospital a co-payment of 10 Euros a day is to be paid by the insured, up to a maximum of 28 days per calendar year. The co-pay will be billed directly by the hospital.
Outpatient and Dental Treatments
If you’re sick, you go to the doctor. You are free to choose the doctor, but it has to be an authorized panel physician, but that’s what most doctors are. Only a very few are purely “private doctors.” Besides the established doctors there are also medical service centers and hospital outpatient departments that are approved for medical treatment. The doctor invoices the health insurance provider directly for the treatment costs.
If dentures are required, you receive them from your dentist. The health insurance provider takes care of the cost. In many cases a deductible remains for the insured, the amount of which can vary depending on treatment type and proposal. With fillings and preventative examinations it is also possible that you will have a personal co-payment, because the health insurance provider usually only assumes a portion of the cost for these services.
In Germany you only receive medication in apharmacy, not in a supermarket or drugstore. The costs for prescription medications are paid by the health insurance provider. A co-payment of at least 5 Euros and a maximum of 10 Euros must be made by the insured to the pharmacy.
The Techniker Krankenkasse
The TK is a statutory health insurance company. It looks after the interests of its members with great flexibility and is a competent point of contact in the area of social security.
Do you have questions about health and social security?
I look forward to hearing from you!