If you're an EU citizen moving to Germany, then you might think it's super easy to jump right into the German public health care system. But unfortunately, unless you've found a job in Germany, it's not always that simple.
The reason is this: To join the German public system, you need to prove that you've been covered by public health insurance in another EU country within three months of moving to Germany. After three months, getting into the German public system might not be possible or could result in the need to backpay.
Need an example?
Let's say you are a Spanish national, but you have been living in the US for most of your life. In this case, you likely haven't been covered by public insurance in the EU and switching into the German public system is simply out of the question. Likewise, if you have been privately insured in your home country and you haven't paid into the European public health system, then you won't be able to join either.
And even if you have been insured in the EU, getting into the German public system can be a tedious process. You must get an E-104 document from your home country, which may not be the easiest thing to track down or receive.
If you're a freelancer or unemployed and don't intend to get a salaried position in the near future, then try to get covered under the public health system.
If you have a chronic health issue, then try to get insured in the public health system. This way, your treatment and any medication required are fully covered.
But if you're in good health, and you plan on finding a job within the first year of moving to Germany, then sign up for expat insurance. This coverage is inexpensive, will cover you for the basics (accidents & emergencies), and will fulfill the legal requirement for living in Germany.
If you have any questions at all, feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org