Anyone who lives in Germany without health insurance must expect harsh consequences. Because health insurance is mandatory.

Health insurance is mandatory in Germany. Actually, there shouldn’t be any people without appropriate insurance coverage. And that makes sense too. In the event of illness or an accident, but also for preventive care, health insurance usually covers the costs.

Although health insurance is mandatory in Germany, the number of uninsured people was around 60,000 in 2021, according to the Federal Statistical Office. But this can have serious consequences.

If you don’t have health insurance, you don’t save on contributions. Because these accumulate in the form of contribution debts and have to be paid back. For the entire period and without being able to claim benefits retroactively.

In addition to the actual contribution debts, reminder fees can also result in additional costs. In the worst case, the delinquent contributions will be collected through a garnishment.

Without health insurance, medical care is only available in emergencies and during pregnancy. What counts as an emergency and what the uninsured person then has to pay out of their own pocket is decided for each individual case.

While the employer takes care of paying the health insurance contributions for permanent employees, self-employed people, for example, have to take care of their own insurance. In this chapter you will find out what you should do if you do not have health insurance.