Health insurance for baby and parents on leave in Germany

29 March 2023 | Before Your Baby is Born | By Lisa H

You may be wondering what will happen to your health insurance when you’re having a baby and taking some time off from working. 

Also, how and when should you add your baby to your insurance? Find out below.

This article was written in collaboration with Elodie Roux Heineck, who is the founder of Baby in Berlin, offering expert help with German baby paperwork for international families.

For publicly insured employees

If you are an employee that is publicly insured, you will continue to be insured, free of charge during Mutterschutz and Elternzeit (as long as you’re not working).

For voluntarily publicly insured persons

If you are publicly insured on a voluntary basis (for example as a freelancer or a high earner), it can get complicated. 

If you are married and your partner is a publicly insured employee, you should contact your health insurance and check if you can get on your partner’s family insurance. 

That way, you won’t have to pay any health insurance premiums as long as you’re staying under the limit of earning on average €470 a month (as of 2022). 

As a freelancer, you may also have to prove that your income has declined by 25% or more in order to not pay any premiums during this time. Check with your insurance to find out what criteria you need to meet.

For privately insured employees

If you are privately insured, you will have to continue paying your premiums during Mutterschutz and Elternzeit. In fact, these will go up since your employer will stop contributing during your Elternzeit. On the upside, you may receive more Elterngeld due to a different way of calculating the fees.

If you’re employed, some employers generously contribute to your health insurance contributions whilst you are on Mutterschutz, so it's good to check with them.

What about the baby?

Your baby will be automatically insured from birth.

If both parents are publicly insured, the baby will also be publicly insured (for free). You can choose which insurance to put your baby on. However, the parent whose insurance the baby will be on will need to have been a member of the insurance for at least three months before the birth of the child.

If both parents are privately insured, the baby will also be privately insured on the same tariff. You will need to register your baby with the insurance within two months to avoid having to do a health check for the baby.

If the parents are married and one parent is publicly and the other privately insured, then the baby can be insured either way. However, a free public family insurance will not be possible if the privately insured parent makes more than €5,500 total income per month or makes more than the publicly insured parent. In that case, your child can be voluntarily publicly insured for a fee or privately insured.

If the parents are not married, then the baby will be insured with the mother.

Applying for your baby’ health insurance

You will need the baby’s birth certificate to apply for membership in the health insurance. This will be retroactive to cover the period since birth. 

If you have doctor’s appointments with the baby before you receive their insurance card, you should be able to attend the appointment anyways and hand the card in once you have it.

We hope this helps clarify some of the questions you may have around insurance for yourself and your baby!

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