Health insurance for Germany - advice

(25 Posts)
Deirds Thu 03-Jan-13 11:44:31

Wonder if anyone could give me some advice in health insurance. I'm moving to Berlin next week with my family and have to sort out some insurance for one month until my partner starts his job (and we're covered then).. I've just come off the phone to one provider who has said I need to get a letter from my doctor to prove I am a UK citizen. Apparently the passport is not enough. Have you come across this before? I spoke in pretty poor German to her so maybe there is some misunderstanding. As we've already left London it's going to be pretty difficult for us to trek back down there to get one! And then of course getting an appointment is a totally different matter! I'm pregnant and need to sort out s midwife when I get there, otherwise we might have just winged it for a month!

natation Thu 03-Jan-13 12:04:05

Just wondering why you need health insurance? Your EHIC card and the NHS and ultimately yourself and your NI payments to the UK covers part health expenses for something like 3 months, before you're established under the German health insurance system.

Hi deirds! We had something similar when we moved from the uk to Germany 4 yrs ago. With the slight difference that we are actually German, but had lived in the uk for years.

We also moved over 2 months before dh started his job, and I was 36 weeks pregnant with dc2. We contacted a health insurance (bkk Mobil oil) beforehand and were sent an extensive pack with lots of forms to fill out. Until dh started his job, we were entitled to some benefits which covered housing, living allowance as well as health insurance.

And then when dh started his job, we stayed with the same health insurance provider, and cost was shared between us and his employer ( the way it usually works), and of course other benefits stopped too.

You should check if you are entitled to those benefits (I think it was Wohngeld and Arbeitslosengeld 2). It was very straight forward at the Arbeitsamt.

Once your partner starts his job, will you be insured privately or would you stay with the same provider as now?

natation i believe pre-existing conditions would not be covered by the EHIC from the UK. And as deirds is pregnant she would obviously need proper health cover to see the obstetrician for the routine checks etc. It's only meant as emergency cover when travelling in Europe afaik, but of course I may be wrong!

Deirds Thu 03-Jan-13 15:10:16

Hi - thanks to both for the advice!

We were given the insurance co details by my partner's HR contact at his new job. So we'll be covered from feb by this firm, just not in Jan. My partner and son were just going to rely on the E111 for jan but with me having to pay for a Hebamme, I reckoned getting health insurance would be the best bet. I say 'we will be covered from feb', I think as we're not married we will need to pay for my health insurance separately which is pain but there you go!

Outnumberedbymen - how was it moving back at 36 weeks?? Did you manage to sort out midwife/doc/hospital ok? I'm already panicking that things might be booked up at 19 weeks!

DieWilde13 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:19:10

If I were you I would talk to the insurance company your partner will be insured with and arrange everything with them, it should be pretty straightforward.

I always thought that Techniker Krankenkasse were excellent: http://www.tk.de/tk/tk/english/145048

And one more thing: you don't have to book in for your birth! Just phone up a gynaecologist (not GP!) and ask for an appointment as soon as possible. I am sure you will find an English speaking one as well. Good luck!

deirds I wouldnt think finding a gyn/obstetrician or a midwife should be much of a problem in Berlin. we moved to a small city so choice was limited, and the popular ones were not taking on any new patients. I was lucky though as I lived there as a child/teenager and was still on the patient records of one of the popular ones. Finding a Hebamme was slightly more difficult for me, but mainly because I was already so far gone. I am sure you'll be fine!

do you know if you want just the ''regular' Hebamme who will come and see you at home before and after the birth for check ups? or will you be looking for a Beleghebamme? they do the normal check ups, but will also come to hospital with you when you give birth. that way you have a midwife there with you who already knows you, and you know her.

I have to say, I still dont completely understand the insurance situation you describe. You say you partner's work will insure you? does that mean it will be private health insurance?? or have they simply chosen one of the state subsidised insurance providers (gesetzliche Krankenkasse) for him, so that he doesnt have to worry about that bit? If it's the latter, then find out which one it is an try to start your membership (and I would assume it would have to be for your partner and your son too) a month early. as neither of you are working, the type of membership will be called 'freiwillige Mitgliedschaft'. and as I mentioned before, the cost for the freiwillige Mitgliedschaft would be paid for by the Arbeitsamt if you decided to apply for Arbeitslosengeld 2 for that one month.

I really cant see an insurance provider taking you on for just one month....but apart from that, wouldnt it be much easier to start membership with the one you will be covered by from FEbruary anyway?

wrt to the question about whether YOU will be covered as well, as you are not married: f it is a gesetzliche Krankenkasse, then the answer is yes, you should be. you and your partner would be classed as having a 'eheähnliche Lebensgemeinschaft', especially with you having children together. if it is a private health insurance, then you probably would not be covered by it.

sorry for waffling, I'm just trying to understand the full situation smile

die WIlde13 yes, Techniker is supposed to be good. we are with bkk mobil oil and havent had any problems whatseover, and we've had to claim loads, having two children with special needs.

I did have to book in for my birth with ds2&3 btw. it was around 30 weeks I think. maybe it's handled differently depending on where you live?

in any case, deirds should not have any problems finding a gynaecologist/obstetrician or midwife at 19weeks. afaik most Germans dont start looking for a midwife before then either, as all check ups are done at the gynaecologist's really. here most women dont really see much of the midwives until AFTER the birth. unless you have one of those Beleghebammen.

DieWilde13 Thu 03-Jan-13 19:35:35

Booking in definitely not required where we were, mind you that was 8 and 6 years ago. I just turned up with contractions and that was that!

Anyway, OP, that is something to ask when you see your gynaecologist.
I love the system of Beleghebamme, 2nd birth with a Hebamme who knew me and what I wanted was so much better than the first birth!

digerd Thu 03-Jan-13 19:41:15

All the specialists in Germany are actually consultants and are not attached to hospitals. They have their own Praxis, 9-5, Mon - Fri. Mine had Thurs afternoons off. There are hundreds of them on highstreets in large towns and in small rural towns. Just look in the Yellow Pages "Gelbe Seiten" under Frauen Artz for Gynys. We lived in a rural area and I always got an appt the next day!! Weekends and bank Holidays are also covered by the local Drs. Notifications were always in our local paper.
You get a card, like a bank card to put into their machine, so they can get their money from insurers. Just like in our shops.

Same here, wilde13. After a bad experience with a hospital midwife at ds1' birth, I really wanted a Beleghebamme with ds2. But I wasn't able to find one at such short notice, me being 36 weeks pg. I had a very unsympathetic mw at hospital with ds2 (she actually said to me, just as I was going into transition and in obvious pain 'Stellen Sie sich nicht so an Frau out'!) but luckily ds2 arrived very quickly.
when I was pg with ds3 I contacted a Beleghebamme very early one just to insure I would have one. And it made the world of difference. The birth could have been the most stressful out of the three, but because I had my own mw there, who knew me so well and was do calm, it was a brilliant birth experience.

I would certainly recommend a Beleghebamme!

natation Thu 03-Jan-13 20:24:01

I missed the last bit about being pregnant. How pregnant are you? I'd be tempted to take out holiday insurance covering the time you're there without a job giving you access to the German healthcare system, so long as it covers pregnancy. At 19 weeks I only saw a midwife once every 2 months in the UK, with all my pregnancies being low risk. Are there any appointments you would be doing in January, were you to still be in the UK?

MichaelFinnegansWhiskers Thu 03-Jan-13 20:57:34

The EHIC is valid as long as you are officially resident in the UK - i.e. you shouldn't use it once you're registered resident in Germany, but can legitimately use it up to that point. It provides coverage equivalent to that of an insured national in the country you're visiting, and (unlike e.g. some holiday insurance) it does not have any exclusions about pre-existing conditions, and so is acceptable for normal pre-natal care. See www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx

(NB - In the context of the website above, you are not going abroad to give birth, as you will not be giving birth abroad as a resident of the UK - you'll be registered as a German resident by then. In your position, I'd wait a month before registering as resident in Germanty, and just use the EHIC for that time.)

There's another possibility, if you have worked in the UK in the last few years, and won't be working in Germany yourself. If you have sufficient NI payments, then you have a residual entitlement to UK-funded healthcare after leaving the UK for another European country. Details are here:
www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/movingabroad/Pages/Livingabroad.aspx - you need to click on "Healthcare provided before your state pension is payable". The website is a bit unclear, but the team in Newcastle are helpful.

natation Thu 03-Jan-13 21:11:48

Excellent advice above, a bit of a warning, the form showing your NI contributions, well it can take up to 6 months to get it issued!!! When we moved to Belgium, I couldn't register with the health insurance here before showing first I had paid enough NI for that year, as when I arrived I had no job, so wasn't paying Belgian NI. It covered me for the rest of the calendar year.

You'd be amazed and shocked at the number of EU nationals who turn up at London hospitals to give birth, rather abusing the reciprocal agreement and not being charged.

tb Fri 04-Jan-13 06:02:12

The EHIC is only meant for tourists on holiday. If you have left the UK with the 'intention' of settling in another EU country, strictly speaking it doesn't apply, but not sure if you are still covered for the 3 months.

That's what I thought, tb. I personally would not choose to do it that way.

Also, in Germany you are required to register within something like 10days of arriving, unless on holidays. Legalities aside, unless registered they also would not be able to things like opening a bank account, registering with a paediatrician (deirds as mentioned by a previous poster, in Germany you go straight to the specialists not your gp), gynaecologist etc etc.

natation Fri 04-Jan-13 08:21:08

well I'd take a trip home end of January and come back and register once my partner started working, so then it's quite clear the first month is a visit and not settlement.

I've nothing useful to add except to say good luck with your move and I'm envious. I'd love to move back to Germany! I'm living this thread vicariously!

MichaelFinnegansWhiskers Sat 05-Jan-13 11:24:52

Another good place to find information about health insurance (and everything else) in Germany is www.toytowngermany.com

Good luck with the move - I too think Germany is a fantastic place to live (and give birth!)

digerd Sat 05-Jan-13 13:13:49

I became resident in 1984 and found the NHS - Krankenkasse- brilliant.
Wasn't keen on the long hard winters, but never got a cold and chesty cough, like I did several times a year in UK.

Deirds Sat 05-Jan-13 22:30:23

Well unless the temp drops below -10 which it may do, I'm not planning on moving for a while once I get there - I have a 3 year old and am 20 weeks pregnant with twins! I have my last uk hospital appt on weds then fly out to Berlin thurs morning.

I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and register with the techniker krankenkasse. And then get on with registering with all the different offices we need to when we get there (Outnumberedbymen I didn't realise wrongly had 10 days!)

DieWilde13 Sat 05-Jan-13 22:55:50

Don't forget to register for child benefit (Kindergeld). Quite a bit more than in the UK!

Deirds Sun 06-Jan-13 16:56:31

Sorry Outnumberedbymen, my last post should have said 'I didn't realise I only had 10 days'

Any advice on how we register for kindergeld? Indeed any advice on who we need to register with, what for and in which order? Do we start by going to the Burgeramt in our local Bezirk (I'm relying on my hazy knowledge of my gap year as a student in Germany!)

RiceBurner Sun 06-Jan-13 19:06:51

Outnumbered,

What does "Stellen Sie sich nicht so an Frau out" mean? (I'm just curious.) I did German at school, but I can't work this phrase out, not even by using google translate!

'rice' hmm, just trying to find a suitable translation for 'stellen Sie sich nicht so an'. I guess 'stop making such a fuss' or 'stop being so silly' would come closest. I am sure I am not the only one who, when going into transition, claims to have had enough and not being able to do it...and that was the midwife's reaction to it. hmm

deirds yes, anmelden you do at the Bürgeramt, and this should be the first thing you do. you wont be able to do anything else without being a resident. For Kindergeld you have to go to the Familienkassen. It says here that in BErlin the Familienkasse is part of the Agentur für Arbeit (job centre). in that link it also gives you further links to the different job centres, depending on where in Berlin you live.

Once your twins are born, apart from Kindergeld for them, you will also be entitled to Elterngeld. you will get the minimum amount I would assume, as you havent worked in GErmany for the past 12 months. but if your son is younger than 3, you will also get a little bonus for him too. I did with all mine wink

if you have any other questions, feel free to ask smile

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