By default, one should always choose a public insurance.
If eligible, one can always switch to a private insurance
- afterwhich returning to a public is rarely possible.
A travel insurance, covering the time into you start working, should be taken.
Difference in concept of public and private insurance
- solidarity between healthy and chronic health conditions
younger (often, but not always healthier) share the burden of those who are more elderly and thus more often have chronic health conditions
based on needs of insured persons
- heather pay less, chronic pay more
to cover the costs, which will change depending on envolving health conditions.
(not offered in the basic public services)
- public: must be paid directly and will not be refunded
- private: may be partially refunded or incorporated into the monthly contribution
This system is based on the Gesetz, betreffend die Krankenversicherung der Arbeiter of the 15th of June 1883 and assumed that most peaple would be living in the country their whole life long. Thus, for most, everything balances out.
For expatriates, the question is valid for someone only remaining 5 years, whether such a solidarity contribution (which they may not later benefit from) is worthwhile.
My personal experience was, when the time came in my professional life that I could switch to a private insurance, I was strongly advised by elder colleagues not to do so. The status symbol was not worth the later cost.
For expatriates, with a family, this aspect should be taken more into consideration, than for a single person remaining for 5 years.