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Choose or change your statutory health insurance provider


Statutory health insurance companies include:

  • the General Local Health Insurance Fund (AOK) of your place of employment or residence;
  • any substitute fund;
  • the company health insurance fund (BKK) for the company in which you work;
  • BKK or guild health insurance funds (IKK), which are open to all insured persons in your place of employment or residence by a resolution of the articles of association;
  • the miners;
  • the health insurance fund with which you last had a membership or family insurance prior to the commencement of your compulsory insurance or entitlement to insurance;
  • the health insurance fund with which your partner is insured (if you are married or in a registered civil partnership).

A special feature is the Agricultural Health Insurance Fund: it only accepts farmers and their family members.

If you are co-insured free of charge through family insurance, your family member's health insurance company will automatically cover you.

If you belong to one of the following groups of people, you have additional options when choosing your statutory health insurance company:

  • Students can also choose the local health insurance fund at the university's headquarters.
  • Pensioners can also choose the company or guild health insurance fund for a company in which they were employed.
  • The health insurance with which one of the parents is insured can be selected for:
    • Persons who are to be qualified for gainful employment in youth welfare institutions.
    • Participants in benefits for participation in working life as well as in clarifications of professional aptitude or work trials.
    • People with disabilities in recognised workshops for disabled people.
    • People with disabilities in institutions, homes or similar institutions.
    • voluntarily insured people with disabilities.
    • pensioners subject to compulsory insurance and pension applicants.
    • voluntarily insured pensioners.

If you do not exercise your right to choose a health insurance company or do not exercise it in time, the health insurance company with which you last had a membership or family insurance is responsible for you.

If you have never been covered by a statutory health insurance company – for example, because you came to Germany from abroad – and you do not choose a health insurance company, your employer can insure you with a health insurance company of its choice.
 

Process flow

You can apply for membership with the health insurance company of your choice by post or – in the case of many statutory health insurance companies – hand it in in person at the office or submit it online.
If you are subject to compulsory health insurance for the first time or again – for example, at the start of an apprenticeship, at the start of your working life, or a change of employer – you can choose a health insurance provider no later than 2 weeks after the obligation to be insured.  

  • Submit a membership declaration to the statutory health insurance company of your choice.
  • The health insurance company will send you a membership confirmation.
  • In this confirmation, you will also be made aware of your obligations to notify your employer.
  • You inform your employer about your choice of health insurance provider.
  • Your training company or employer will then register you with the health insurance company.
  • The employer will then receive an electronic notification from the health insurance company about your membership.

If you would like to change your health insurance provider and nothing has changed in terms of your compulsory insurance or voluntary health insurance, please submit an application for new admission to the new health insurance company. As a rule, you must comply with a notice period of 2 months to the end of the month with the old health insurance company. Your new health insurance company will then take care of the cancellation with the old health insurance company.

  • Contact the health insurance company with which you would like to be insured.
  • The newly selected health insurance company reports the change of health insurance provider to your previous health insurance company electronically.
  • The previous health insurance company electronically confirms the end of the membership to the new health insurance company within 2 weeks.
  • The new health insurance company will inform you about the time of the change of insurer.
  • You inform your employer about the change of health insurance provider.
  • Your employer deregisters with the previous health insurance company and the registration with the new health insurance company.
  • The newly selected health insurance company confirms the existence of the membership to your employer.
     

Requirements

  • You have reached the age of 15.
  • Provided that all insurance requirements are met, the health insurance companies may not refuse your membership.

Which documents are required?

  • Passport photo for the electronic health card
  • Health insurance number or social security number

What are the fees?

You will not incur any costs for the application.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

The notice period is 2 months to the end of the month.
If you are subject to compulsory health insurance for the first time or again: You can choose a health insurance provider within 2 weeks of becoming insured.

If you are able to voluntarily take out statutory health insurance for the first time or again: You can choose a new health insurance provider within 3 months of becoming eligible for insurance.

For the change of health insurance provider, so-called statutory commitment periods apply:

  • As a rule, you can only choose a new health insurance company if you have been insured with the previous health insurance company for at least 12 months.
  • If you have taken out a so-called optional tariff, you are bound to your health insurance company for the duration of the contract. As a rule, these are
    • 12 months, for example with a deductible tariff.
    • 3 years, for example with a sickness benefit tariff.

During this time, it is not possible to change health insurance companies.

  • Exceptions to the statutory binding period exist, among other things, if:
    • You meet the requirements for free family insurance.
    • You cancel your voluntary membership because you switch to private health insurance or because you are otherwise covered in the event of illness.
    • Your health insurance company has stipulated in its articles of association that the minimum commitment period does not apply when switching to a health insurance company of the same type of health insurance company.
  • If you become subject to compulsory insurance again, for example because you take up a new job, you can change your insurance provider immediately – without having to cancel your contract with your previous health insurance company and without having to comply with the commitment period. The same applies if you change your health insurance provider because you voluntarily take out statutory health insurance for the first time or again.
  • You have a special right of termination if:
    • Your health insurance company increases the additional contribution rate, or
    • Your health insurance company is closing.

Processing duration

It usually takes about 1 to 7 business days to process.
In order to process and make a decision quickly, your health insurance company must have the necessary information and, if necessary, documents complete and meaningful.
The health insurance company decides on applications promptly, whereby the statutory processing deadline is observed in order to protect patients' rights.
Please note that the stated processing time is an average value for all health insurance companies. It may vary in individual cases.
The exact processing time also depends on the complexity of the individual case and can be extended accordingly. The same applies if documents or records are sent to you or your health insurance company by post.

Applications / forms

- Forms: no.

- Online procedure possible: Many statutory health insurance companies offer an online procedure.

- Written form required: no

- Personal appearance required: no
 

Appeal

  • Contradiction
  • Appeal to the Social Court

What else should I know?

You can only choose private health insurance if you are not covered by the statutory insurance obligation. In order to become exempt from insurance, the following requirements apply, among others:

  • Your income from employment must exceed the statutory annual earnings threshold or
  • You must be a civil servant or self-employed.
     

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Health

Professionally released on

25.10.2021

Author

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)