When is it worth switching to private health insurance?

When is it worth switching to private health insurance?

Financial experts: Switching to private health insurance is not worthwhile for every insured person

The change in health insurance from statutory to private health insurance has been on everyone's lips for weeks. Not without reason. Since the beginning of the year, the change has been significantly simplified and numerous new contracts await private insurance companies (PKV) and promising commissions for intermediaries. The Federal Insurance Office and the Confederation of Insureds warn against a rash change.

However, the benefits of switching from statutory to private health insurance really vary depending on the individual situation of those wishing to change. Factors such as income, age, professional and family perspectives largely determine whether private or statutory health insurance is more suitable for personal coverage.

Switching to private health insurance is worthwhile for young and healthy people Overall, it can be said that private health insurance (PKV) offers extremely lucrative contracts, in particular for single, healthy, well-earning young people. However, these do not remain at the same level for a lifetime and with changes in personal living conditions and one's own state of health, the contributions to be paid also change significantly. Critics see a cost trap here, which often only catches up after years when the privately insured have less income at retirement age and the contributions increase steadily due to deteriorating health. The easier exchange options in combination with the disadvantages of statutory health insurance (higher costs plus additional contributions, poorer medical care) can make a change appear attractive, but the crux of the matter is, as is so often the case, in the details.

Federal Insurance Office warns of premature change Both the Federal Insurance Office and the Confederation of Insureds therefore warn of a hasty change of health insurance. Those affected should carefully consider and be aware of the consequences. Because a return to the statutory health insurance is excluded after switching to private health insurance. Switching to private health insurance can be particularly worthwhile for high-earning civil servants. The PKV also offers better insurance protection for the self-employed with high incomes. However, if you want to insure your children with, in most cases you are better off with statutory health insurance, even if a comparison with private health insurance can still be worthwhile here. Since January 2011, employees have been able to switch to private health insurance as soon as their annual income has exceeded the limit of EUR 49,500. This also applies if the insured have previously taken out an optional tariff with their statutory insurance company, which actually provided for a longer term. Statutory insurance companies cannot prohibit their members from switching as soon as the conditions stipulated by law are met. However, there is a period of two weeks after notification by the insurance company within which the persons concerned must have their insurance protection exempted, otherwise the minimum binding period of the optional tariff applies.

No hurry to switch Although a change in health insurance can be worthwhile, the current hysteria surrounding the options for switching should not be influenced by people who meet all the initial conditions. Calm weighing and a thorough comparison of the providers is required. It should always be kept in mind that private health insurance companies have a vested interest in keeping the topic in public in order to interest as many potential new customers as possible. However, the hurry that is often propagated is the wrong way, since the change of insurance is usually a lifelong decision and the consequences, especially in old age, can become a considerable financial burden. For example, it is not clear to many that a change from the statutory health insurance to the PKV means a quasi lifelong exclusion from the SHI. Once you have changed, the way back is blocked forever. In addition, the PKV is not aware of various social services that are a matter of course for the GKV. For example, there is no free family insurance with private providers, no mother-child cures and no co-insurance for the non-working spouse.

Change pays off for high income groups However, if you have a stable and above-average income, you can certainly save a lot of money by completing a private health insurance and also enjoy health services such as treatment by a doctor or alternative practitioner therapies. However, before a contract is signed, the contract clauses should be carefully studied and checked independently of the insurance company or broker. For a fee of 18 euros, Stiftung Warentest offers an individual evaluation. Caution is advised, especially with low tariffs. These tariffs often offer hardly any services and require a high deductible. (fp, sb)

Also read:
Consumer advocates warn of low tariffs for private health insurance
Health insurance companies block insurance bills
PKV: No return for students in the SHI
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