What is a voluntary health insurance? (Freiwillige Krankenversicherung)

If you have a cold, your head is almost bursting or your allergies are acting up again, you just go to the doctor and get a prescription for some medicine so you can get better soon. Even with fractures and bruises, you end up getting a CT or MRI faster than you can count to three.

No question - the health system in Germany is one of the best in the world. Of course, not everything is ideal and there is always something to improve, but being ill does not automatically mean that, as it does in many other countries, your existence is at risk.

Thanks to health insurance, we do not fall into financial ruin every time. In Germany, it is mandatory that every citizen has health insurance, whether they like it or not. However, this also means that every health insurance company tries to market to every single person. Hardly anyone can wade through the quagmire, regardless of private insurance, statutory or additional voluntary insurance. This is the reason why we would like to take a closer look at voluntary health insurance in this article.

Voluntary health insurance

Voluntary health insurance (FK) is a special type of statutory health insurance (GKV). FK is only available to a specific group of people. In principle, everyone can be voluntarily insured for health insurance, which is not the statutory insurance obligation of the GKV. These are primarily employees who earn more than € 49,500 gross a year. In addition, they must not be privately insured.

Voluntary health insurance is available to anyone who:

  • is self-employed
  • is a student and not insured with their family
  • returns from abroad as an employee
  • would like to protect his children separately in case of illness

Advantages of a voluntary health insurance

Voluntary health insurance of the GKV is comparable to the benefits of a statutory health insurance. The costs covered by the insurance are generally described in the respective insurance's benefits catalogue. Those who are voluntarily insured, however, have the advantage that they can choose from numerous optional tarifs. These promise certain special benefits such as reimbursements, deductible rates and much more. The optional tarifs are similar to the rates of private health insurance.

However, those who opt for such an optional tariff usually stay with the GKV longer. This is a "give-and-take situation". The insured person commits to stay with a health insurance company for a long period and receives special rates for this. For example, you can claim an economical supplemental dental insurance.

What will it cost me?

As mentioned earlier, not everyone benefits from voluntary health insurance. As with statutory health insurance, the contribution to be paid is calculated on the basis of income. Since 2011, the contribution rate is 15.5%. Thus, the contribution amount for voluntary health insurance is calculated according to income.

However, there is an exception in this case. The contribution assessment ceiling is €3,712.50. That would be €575.36 per month for the voluntary health insurance. For example, students have to pay significantly less because a notional income of €851.67 is used as a basis for calculation.

The situation is different for those who are self-employed. Here, the insurance assume an income that is above the income threshold of €3,712.50. However, if you receive a lower income, then the contribution can be adjusted upon request. The basis for assessment in this case is at least €1,916.25.

Why should I volunteer for health insurance?

Those without insurnace can opt for private health insurance. There are many reasons for getting GKV. Especially for families with several children. The can enjoy a financial advantage due to the non-contributory family insurance in the statutory health insurance. Contributions have to be paid for all family members with PKV.

Additionally, you can expect to pay a higher rate for private health insurance if there was a pre-existing condition or a certain age has been reached. Private health insurance is often more expensive. However, PKV can be worthwhile for young public officials or civil servants. In most cases, GKV is definitely much better for families.

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