Health insurance in Germany has been compulsory since 2009 for those living and working permanently or temporarily in the country, irrespective of whether the person is a member of the EU or travelling/staying on a visa.
Freelancers have several options for health insurance and can sign up for German private health insurance, German state health insurance or join a scheme provided by an international health insurance company. With the latter option, however, caution's needed to ensure that the company meets German legal requirements.
The law in Germany states that foreign nationals not covered by German state health insurance must have non-state health insurance in place and provide evidence to show that it meets the various legal requirements. The law states that coverage must match the statutory health insurance scheme as far as what's covered and the options available are concerned.
The rules are that there mustn't be:
any large-scale benefit exclusions,
the need for unreasonably high excess payments to be made by the insured person,
limits to the costs reimbursed in the event of illness,
any expiration or indemnity clauses concerning age, activities undertaken or changes in the purpose of residency of the insured person.
The insurance policy's required to run for an indefinite time period or be automatically extendable, representing a life insurance plan.
The legal body in Bonn that regulates financial services, the Federal Supervisory Authority for Financial Services (or Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) has strict criteria stipulating that health insurance agreements between individuals and insurance companies must meet the statutory requirements for health insurance, specifically Section 257(2)(a) of Book V of the German Social Security Statute(SGBV).
Finding out if your international health insurance policy is valid in Germany is very important and can be done by asking the insurance company to provide their license number from The Federal Supervisory Authority for Financial Services in Germany. Alternatively you can simply ask the company if the German statutory regulations are met. If they decline to confirm that then it's likely that they don't meet the German legal criteria.
I'm an independent insurance broker with a wide variety of options and advice available to help you and your family find the right health insurance solution that's tailor-made for you.