When it comes to getting health insurance, most people choose the easiest path: a quick Google search and then a practically random choice. But this is not the best or most cost-effective method. Mirja Lundin from KLforExpats Explains why you should consider working with an independent broker.
We all know that finding the best and most cost-effective health insurance in Germany can be a difficult and confusing maze of information. If you are new to this country or don’t speak much German, this can be an even bigger challenge!
So, when it comes to finding the best health insurance for your needs and budget, where should you look and what type of platforms and services are most cost-effective and reliable? Is it possible to find for yourself the best coverage? Would going directly to the top providers be beneficial? What is the difference between an independent broker and an insurance agent and why might seeking support from an experienced independent broker be your best bet?
When looking for a health insurance package, most people turn to one of the following sources of information:
- search engines
- Price comparison sites
- Health insurance providers
- Independent Health Insurance Brokers
In this article, we explore the pros and cons of each of these different methods and explain what you should be aware of when using them.
Taking the time to do your research online is a great way to learn about the different health insurance options available. You may even be able to use expat sites and forums to learn about other people’s experiences in a similar situation as yours.
However, it can sometimes be difficult to understand the different intricacies and details of different health insurance plans, and to spot any nasty (and possibly expensive!) surprises you may have missed in the typeface. It is also worth bearing in mind that what is written on the Internet is not always fact-checked or updated, so you should focus your search on reputable sites and refer to any information to ensure its reliability.
Online price comparison portals
Price comparison sites like Check24 work simply by scanning the internet for information and creating health insurance quotes based on the details you’ve connected to the system, such as your occupation and income.
These platforms can be great for getting an initial understanding of what’s out there and which companies tend to charge cheaper and higher prices, but because they don’t offer customized services, they don’t take into account your specific needs – since search results are based solely on general information – you may not get The most comprehensive coverage at the best price.
Health insurance providers
You also have the option of going directly to the health insurance companies themselves. This can be the best way to find out exactly what the company offers for your personal situation, and at what price.
However, of the more than 40 available providers, not all expats and foreigners are insured. Among those who do, many do not communicate or provide customer service in English, which makes it difficult if you are not still fluent in German. Furthermore, speaking directly to health insurance providers or an agent associated with one company means that you may not receive neutral and unbiased advice, given that each provider will be looking to sell their own products.
Independent Health Insurance Brokers
On the other hand, brokers work directly with you to understand your needs and advise you on the best options for your unique situation, lifestyle and future plans. Rather than being tied to one health insurance company, brokers compare different health insurance policies from several different providers to give you unbiased advice tailored to your situation. Best of all, getting broker advice is absolutely free.
While brokers are paid by health insurance providers, not the consumer, an ethical broker will still give fair advice because they are not tied to one specific provider. A reputable, independent broker usually works with at least 10 or more providers to ensure that you get a variety of options to suit your needs. Bottom line? Agents work for service providers, but brokers choose the best plan for the benefit of the consumer.
An English-speaking broker can negotiate terms for you if you do not speak German. They will also provide you with ongoing support if you need to adjust or improve your health insurance plan if your circumstances change or you have a problem with your provider.
In the long run, this will give you peace of mind and save you time and money. You don’t want to choose a plan that could cost you hundreds more in premiums every month!
Ultimately, the best approach to finding the best health insurance is a combination of the above – by all means, do some of your own research and consider some potential providers, but consulting with an independent broker means you benefit from a second pair of eyes – and some expert advice – when You make your final decision.
Just remember to make sure you’re talking to an actual independent broker or advisor and not a health insurance agent, who are usually associated with one or two health insurance companies and don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind.
If you want to learn more about working with a broker, contact them KLforExpats. With 25 years of experience in this field, KLforExpats offers a completely free, friendly English language service. Whether you are new to Germany, looking to relocate, want to change providers or simply have questions about your health insurance, they can help!