Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this article with those from other jurisdictions.    

Health insurance

Provision of insurance What is the health insurance provision framework in your jurisdiction? For example, is it provided by the government, through private insurers or through self-funded arrangements provided by employers?

Germany has statutory health and nursing care insurance. Statutory health insurance schemes are the carriers of statutory health insurance. With certain restrictions, insured persons are free to choose from available statutory health insurance schemes. Persons subject to compulsory statutory health insurance are primarily dependent employees or retirees. Contributions to statutory health and nursing care insurance are borne by employers and employees. Contributions are calculated on the basis of the employee's remuneration. When calculating contributions to statutory health and nursing care insurance, the part of the employee's remuneration exceeding the applicable contribution ceiling will not be considered. The contribution ceiling for health and nursing care insurance is €4,350 per month. The contribution to statutory health insurance is 15.5%, of which the employer pays 7.3% and the employee 8.2%. Depending on the regulations of the relevant statutory health insurance scheme, the employee might have to bear an additional contribution of approximately 0.9 %. Contributions to statutory nursing care insurance amount to 2.55%, of which the employer and the employee both bear 1.275%. If an employee is childless and over 23 years old, he or she will have to bear an additional contribution of 0.25%. The size of contributions and the contribution ceiling are revised annually. The figures above reflect the legal situation in 2017.

If an employee's annual gross remuneration exceeds the income threshold for compulsory health insurance, he or she may take out private health insurance. In this case, up to 50% of contributions to the cost of private health and nursing care insurance will be borne by the employer. The income threshold for 2017 is €57,600 gross per year.

Coverage levels Do any special laws mandate minimum coverage levels that must be provided by employers?

No, employers are obliged only to contribute to statutory health and nursing care insurance or – if applicable – private health and nursing care insurance.

Can employers provide different levels of health benefit coverage to different employees within the organisation?

Since employees either are subject to statutory health and nursing care insurance or have taken out private health and nursing care insurance, it is uncommon in Germany for employers to provide additional health coverage to their employees. Under German labour law, if an employer decides to provide such additional health coverage, the equality principle must be observed (ie, employees can be treated differently only if there is a valid reason to do so). 

Post-termination coverage Are employers obliged to continue providing health insurance coverage after an employee’s termination of employment?

No, there is no such obligation.

Click here to view the full article.