I'm a thirty-something freelance programmer starting a business and paid work will be scarce at the beginning (I will for the next 6 months be living from savings), so money for other expenses is tight.

And this is where the mess of choosing a medical insurance comes in. Regular (GKV) vs. private (PKV)?

I'd just like to have "normal" medical insurance (a free/cheap doctor check + some medicine) if I get stuck with a cold, tooth ache, etc. - don't care about private room in hospital, chief-doctor, money if I stay in a hospital, etc. etc. I'm in perfect health and even though I do live with my steady girlfriend I don't plan to have children in the next 3-5 years. So obviously I'm after a good deal (financially) but I'd also like to be smart about it (+/- a few euros is not that important).

The problem is that you can't really ask "an insurance professional" for help because they'll just refer you to the insurance that pays the highest referral bounty.

I've been reading about it quite a bit online and there is also lots of conflicting info - like regular/GKV seems to be somehow considered better in terms of services offered by a lot of people (especially when you're getting older and kids, etc. + its difficult to go back from private to regular) but on the other hand an equal amount of info states that private insurance wins there. Plus of course (although they officially shouldn't) lots of doctors prefer patients with private insurance. GKV seems to be more expensive once you start earning more than 0 Euros, but I've also read an alarming number of articles ok PKV insurances that started dirt cheap but have doubled in price over a course of 1-2 years.

So what I'm getting at is I guess:

  • based on what I've said above - would GKV or PKV be a better fit for me?
  • how do you break through the BS/SEO and find a good insurance? I guess since GKVs are for the most part offering the same services, how do you compare PKV services for the money?
  • (a dangerous question I know) but whats the absolute cheapest private insurance you know?
  • (an equally dangerous one) whats the most stable i.e. best deal private insurance you know (by that I mean the one giving you the most bang for your low low buck and having a good track-record of not going more and more expensive every year)?
  • (interesting to compare) who offers the best private insurance no matter the price? and how does this then compare to regular/GKV insurance?

Note 1. that this question is similar but not the same because here we're talking about self-employment where the conditions are also different and you have to pay your full insurance by yourself.

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    The question is indeed different but most of the issues you raise are already covered in the other one. The main thing left is the cost of statutory health insurance, which is different for self-employed people. – Gala Apr 12 '14 at 7:00
  • Some real current recommendations would be nice as well - (I see you took down my SEO note :D), although I realize that there is danger in that, but otherwise the whole thing is just too general... – Michael Apr 12 '14 at 12:08
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    whats the most stable i.e. best deal private insurance you know and who offers the best private insurance are off-topic, as they are asking for opinion. I would suggest removing these from the question, or re-wording them to ask for an objective answer. – Flimzy Apr 13 '14 at 6:28
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    @Michael: The two parts I highlighted are both asking about "the best" options. "Best" is a very subjective term. What's best for you isn't best for me, etc. So it's not objective. Example: "What is the best car?" is completely subjective. "What is the most fuel-efficient car." and "What is the car with the greatest storage capacity?" are objective. – Flimzy Apr 13 '14 at 14:43
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    @Michael: I did read your entire question. "Most bang for your buck" and "good track record" are at least as subjective as "best", if not more. – Flimzy Apr 14 '14 at 17:36

You should take in account that one other major difference is, the GKV will pay the bills directly. In the PKV you have to pay the bill and collect the money back from the PKV.

You can only get back from PKV to GKV when you are not 55 Years old you earned the last 5 years each not more than the Versicherungspflichtgrenze (at the moment 48,600.00 EUR) and you are working as an employee. Additional you get automatic back to PKV if your income in the 12 month following the transition is bigger than the Versicherungspflichtgrenze.

The GKV costs at the moment 18.9% percent of your income, a PKV is often cheaper. But when you are getting old the PKV gets more expensive, while the GKV in most cases will get cheaper when you get retired and your income lowers.

There are smaller differences between the GKV's, e.g. some pay back around 100 EUR/year.

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