The German Health Care System

Who is covered?

Coverage is universal for all legal residents. About 85 percent of the population is covered by social health insurance and 10 percent by substitutive private health insurance. The remainder (e.g., soldiers, policemen) are covered under special programs. Undocumented immigrants are covered by social security in case of illness. All employed citizens (and other groups such as pensioners) earning less than €4,237.50 (US$5,422.80) per month (€50,850.00 [US$65,074.00] per year) as of 2012 are mandatorily covered by SHI, and their dependents (nonearning spouses and children) are covered free of charge. Individuals whose gross wages exceed the threshold, civil servants, and the self-employed can choose either to remain in the publicly financed scheme on a voluntary basis (and 75% of them do) or to purchase private health insurance. 

For more information, read a Commonwealth Fund profile of the German health care system.


Beatrice Podtschaske

Beatrice Podtschaske

Harkness Project Title: Designing and Implementing Work Environments in Health Care that Support Collaboration and Teamwork Mentor: Sara J. Singer, Ph.D. (Harvard School of Public Health) Co-Mentor: Jody Hoffer Gittell,...

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