I moved to Germany 1 year ago and I was tricked into getting a private insurance. Not just trick, I was actually lied to to make me go for private one, but I guess it does not change anything.

When I realized the mistake, I tried to move back to thepublic one but could not as my annual salary is sufficiently above the limit only below which you can move back to public insurance.

I was asking around and today found a consultant who claims that it is possible if the private insurance provider lets you go and it doesn't have anything to do with my salary. But it would be super difficult.

My questions:

  1. Is it possible that my private insurance provider can let me go if I force them enough? Is there any law related to this? Is there anything I can do legally here?
  2. Is there any other reasonable way (other than finding a low-paying job) to get back to public insurance?
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    Not sure why considered being 'tricked', as most people consider the possibility to be privately insured clearly advantageous. Can you elaborate what you expect to be different in public insurance (except you are paying more for getting less)?
    – Aganju
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 19:17
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    @Aganju: Despite comments are not meant for discussion purpose, I cannot help mentioning that the advantages or disadvantages of a private versus the public health insurance system depend heavily on your personal situation; starting with the fact that if you have a family, you pay per person in the private system while a wife without income and your kids in case you have any are insured for free in the public system.
    – TorstenS
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 9:34
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    @Aganju and if you are planning in staying in Germany long term, you want to be on the public system where fees are not related to risk, but purely to income. Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 14:30
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    @aganju I was literally lied to by the agent my previous company hired. They assured me that it is easy to switch to public and there were few other little lies like no deductions etc. When i went for the switch, they simply refused that they said anything like that. And now the agent's number is out of service and the email doesn't work.
    – ishan
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 17:46
  • 2
    I am planning to stay in Germany for like forever now and from the fresh research i did, i realized that i won't be able to survive with private one. Other than research, i am speaking from personal experience as i was critically ill last year and still fighting to get my expenses back as i had to pay them myself.
    – ishan
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


Assuming you have good reasons why you would rather be in the public health insurance system, you have two things to deal with independently here:

  1. Quit your private health insurance contract.
  2. Find a public health insurance organisation (German: Gesetzliche Krankenkasse) which will accept you.

I'd sort out 2. before dealing with 1. The other way round you can find yourself left without insurance cover, which is not what you want.

The fact that you only moved to Germany one year ago might help you, if worse comes to worse by having to pay the insurance premium for one year out of your own pocket, possibly.

Your are asking if there is any laws involved.

To start with: Hopefully you are younger than 55 years old. In that case the strategy to lower your income would work at least in theory. The questions is if this is what you are seriously looking for.

What I would suggest doing is: If you are fluent in German, just contact a number of Gesetzliche Krankenversicherungen (Public Health Insurance Providers in Germany) and explain your situation. They might be willing to find a solution for you as you are possibly what they consider a "good risk"; at least you will pay a significant contribution.

If you are not, google for any public health insurance provider who may have a team which speaks English. I am sure you can find one.

  • 1
    I know that the TK has English speaking customer support reps. I suspect most Krankenkasse do. Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 14:32
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    Thanks for your answer. Like i said, lowering the income is not an option. I talked to TK earlier and they told me there is no other way to move other than lowering your income. I would be interested in knowing more about 'quitting my contract'. If it can surely get me into public insurance then i am willing to do it for sure.
    – ishan
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 17:44
  • First of all: Talk to other Krankenkassen as well.
    – TorstenS
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 12:06
  • The "quitting my contract" option mean you would have to become a receiver of so-called ALG I (Arbeitslosengeld). Check if you qualify. Depending on you your employer is it might work out to have your contract quit (note: if you quit youself, you may run into issues), get your public insurance and have yourself hired again. If you possibly plan to change employer anyway, then leaving a period of some weeks of unemployment in between may also be the option to go.
    – TorstenS
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 12:08
  • @TorstenS That sounds feasible. I hope this is something that will not be looked upon as cheating the system. Are you sure that they would let me remain in public after switch during unemployment even if i get back on some high paying job ?
    – ishan
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 14:12

For (future) parents:

I've changed from PKV to GKV when my child was born. In this case, it was enough to make "part time during parental leave" for one month. Steps:

  1. take parental leave;
  2. agree with your employer to take part-time during parental leave for at least a calendar month;
  3. then apply to a Gesetzliche Krankenkasse;
  4. After your part-time month completes, your employer gives you confirmation of "versicherungspflichtig" status. This is the paper to quit private insurance. You have to keep paying private health insurance, but they will return all the money for the part-time month and following months once processed.

Many health insurances will have no idea how to do this switch (from my experience, I've consulted AOK and TK, both in person and over email, was useless). I've worked with Bosch BKK and they came up with this plan and it worked, they said they help many people switch each week so its routine for them.

  • I know of someone who worked self-employed and did a whole thing signing over his company to a family member and becoming his own employee in a way, just to get out of PKV. Doing a similar employed/self-employed/back to employment switcheroo may be another option, if somehow possible. (Though you'll probably have to keep that up for a while longer than a month, otherwise somebody may become suspicious.)
    – deceze
    Commented Jan 18 at 8:43

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