1. The one constant is change - Grounded Traveler
    February 10, 2015 @ 11:51 pm

    […] extra (unpaid) hours looking for work and doing accounting tasks and in higher monetary costs with health insurance, more complex taxes and having to foot my own technology bills. Even still I am proud of what I […]

  2. Katie Jacobson
    November 7, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

    I have been looking all over the internet and all I can find is information about health insurance while working in Germany. My husband will soon be working overseas (not in Germany), and we have hopes of the kids and I living in Germany during this time. We’re looking at approximately a year at this point. I would not be working at all, I would be with the four children, so there would be no insurance through a job. I know that we need to have insurance, but I’m not sure as to how to go about it. Does anyone have any basic information for me to research and get started on? I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

    • Andrew
      November 7, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

      Is your husband going to be living in Germany as well? And simply working over the border somewhere else? If so, you might look for the word “Grenzganger” which means “Border Hopper”. There are enough Germans that work over the line that there are plans for them. Though without being German, I don’t know how much they will accept you.

      What is your visa situation like? You will need to show insurance among other things(like enough money/income to support your family) to be able to get a visa to reside in Germany. Also note that home schooling is not allowed in Germany. If your children are of age, you will need to enroll them in school.

      I have heard from others about Insurance Agents (Versicherungsmakler) who can help you choose a plan that fits you. They apparently get paid from the insurance company side, so they are free. Though it probably still is worth finding a decent one. If you have a city destination, you could start looking for one of these brokers and perhaps see if they would give advice by email.

      • Katie Jacobson
        November 8, 2014 @ 11:32 pm

        Thank you for your speedy and helpful response!

        No, my husband will not be living in Germany. He will be working for three months straight in the Middle East, and then visiting (living?) with us for one month, then working for 3, etc. Kind of strange, I know.

        As of right now, there are no visas. I am in research mode at this point, no action yet since this won’t be happening for a while. I had heard that home schooling was illegal, but I was not sure if that applied if we are not citizens? Regardless, I would want my children enrolled to help them learn the language. We are all working on German right now, but I think being in school would help them immensely (on that note- International School? “Public” school? The internet is surprisingly useless in this area, also, so if you can point me in the right direction, I am eager to research that).

        What a relief to hear about the insurance agents. Thank you so much for that tidbit. I have been reading a lot about individual cities, and will be researching many (can you tell I’m a research nerd? Haha, I love learning everything I can about…everything). Any particular cities you would recommend for a family? I don’t care about “night life” (that seems to be what internet searches seem to think I want). I just want the kids and I to be able to be in a place where we can experience the language, culture, foods, beauty, and schools. Safety is important.

        Thank you for your time regarding this. It’s very kind of you to help a stranger out!

        • Andrew
          November 23, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

          I believe the schooling thing applies to residents, not necessarily citizens, so you would indeed be affected as far as I know.

          You really should do some research on the visas. If you will have no job, you may end up with issues despite your husband working. I have no clue what to search for schools. Sorry, I don’t have kids so I know only what I overhear from friends. If you are really interested in Germany and can deal with sifting tons of information check out http://www.toytowngermany.com/. It is a forum, but a large one.

          As for cities, it all depends on what you want to do and what kind of environment you need. I would definitely recommend a city rather than any little village. If you need more expats around, Berlin and Munich are definitely to two larger ones. Freiburg is decent, but quite small for a city. Housing is an issue in most of Germany as well. It is not like the US where you can just find a place and move in quickly. It takes time and some places don’t even get rented with a kitchen.
          Safety is less about which town than which part of town. I have never felt unsafe in Germany.

  3. Sally
    July 12, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

    It has its outstanding things and its bad aspects. Same as the Nederlander system has outstanding and bad aspects. I think it will never be absolutely satisfying for everyone. But it is outstanding that there is a system.

  4. Ryan
    May 9, 2014 @ 7:58 am

    Thank you for this! Currently I am looking into Berlin for a possible base and I know they offer (with certain stipulations) a freelance work visa. But now knowing this about insurance to is a huge help!

    • Andrew
      May 31, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

      Certainly do your research when coming in as a freelancer. I have heard friends saying that the rules of being allowed into the public system are different if you didn’t start as an employee of a German company.

  5. John
    May 1, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

    It has its excellent stuff and its bad factors. Same as the Nederlander program has excellent and bad factors. I think it will never be completely fulfilling for everyone. But it is excellent that there is a program.

  6. Mel
    April 4, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

    I love reading about how other countries do their health insurance. We definitely do not have it sorted correctly in the U.S. When I was living in England, my mom was so worried something would happen to me and I’d have to use their “terrible” health care system. Sure enough, I fell down a flight of stairs and like destroyed my knee. And they fixed me up quickly, for free. I think they might be onto something.

    • Andrew
      April 29, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

      A lot of it is fear. The fear mongers tell stories of grandmothers denied surgeries and waiting ages for doctors. Maybe they exist, but I have seen enough good stories of such systems as well.

  7. Jesse Logister
    February 24, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

    An interesting and informative article. As I am Dutch I was comparing the information you described with my neighbor country. I was shocked about the high amount of healthcare that you pay for insurance in Germany. In the Netherlands we pay something between 70 and 150 euro’s, depending on things like deductibles, the insurance company and extra services like dental care.

    Good that a one year check up with the dentists is included in Germany. I find it strange that we have to pay extra for that service in the Netherlands, as in my opinion my teeth belong to my body. So healthcare should cover maintaining them. I guess that is one of the reasons why a German health insurance is more expensive. We used to have the private insurance option but the government dropped it. Maybe for the better.. I remember my mom telling that her dentist would only shake hands with people who where having a private health insurance.

    Another thing I like about the German health insurance that I like is that a small part is set aside for health costs when you are older. It would be nice to have something like that in The Netherlands as well.

    • Andrew
      March 13, 2014 @ 11:15 am

      It is much more expensive, as you say, but it does feel like everything is included. Part of the expense is likely also the ability to have a whole family on one income in some circumstances.
      Germans will complain that the system is broken and failing and blah blah. Not sure if this is true or just a general German tendency to complain. It feels ok from within it.

      • Jesse Logister
        March 13, 2014 @ 10:03 pm

        It has its good things and its bad things. Same as the Dutch system has good and bad points. I guess it will never be totally satisfying for everyone. But it is good that there is a system. Now I am living in Thailand where health insurance is not required and a privilege for the rich. Someone told me her child died just because she was not able to afford the hospital costs. I would choose for any kind of healthcare insurance if it would prevent anything like that to happen

        • Andrew
          March 23, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

          “Everyone” is always a very wide group. There is pretty much no chance to find an ideal system for that group. The sad part is that most systems benefit the richer just by nature.
          As for Thailand, we were just there (on holiday, so of course different view), but the healthcare seemed really cheap and decent for what we needed. We were told by others that it was pretty cheap as well. Maybe it is still expensive in a fairly cheap country overall, where the wages aren’t that high. That is sad to hear in any country though.

  8. Ian
    February 6, 2014 @ 5:23 pm

    That made my head hurt reading it, but it’s necessary and useful info for those thinking of relocating to Germany. As a digital nomad, this is good to know … thanks!

    • Andrew
      March 13, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

      Why did it make your head hurt? Don’t get me at all wrong, Germany is indeed a great place, but it takes some work to get into the groove.