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Obtaining the Health Insurance Package That's Best for You

What does being "well-insured" really mean when it comes to obtaining mandatory health insurance in Germany?

The quality of an insurance policy and its suitability in covering your personal needs and situation may technically determine whether or not you made the right choice. However, there are several other equally important aspects which determine whether you made the best choice or merely a good one.

"Did I make the right choice? How do I know that I am at the Krankenkasse that's best for me?"

Unfortunately, this is the thought that most frequently crosses one's mind -- after the fact - because whether or not you are publicly or privately insured all of Germany's public health insurers offer a very high level of coverage across the board. Perhaps the only variable one looks at might be the price of coverage, which can vary somewhat.

In recent years the individual public health insurance companies have been allowed to supplement their basic charges by 1.1%. If everything else about the policy you have seems to be suitable, the idea of saving a few Euros a year by changing companies may result in negligible savings.

However the question regarding the quality of one's insurance coverage is not determined by nor clarified by that factor. There are far more important considerations one must review when specific situations arise:

Can I be assured that I will be well-advised and that there are no gaps in my coverage? Naturally we tend to get concerned about these things after the fact when we get sick or an accident occurs, or on learning of worrisome diagnosis of a serious ailment; or, when a baby is expected… that's when concerns arise as to whether or not I will get a rapid response from my insurance.

Can I rely on my Krankenkasse to provide the right answers to the many questions going through my mind?

Customer Orientation Rather Than Mere Cost Approval

There's far more to health insurance than just cost approval and disbursement of funds to health service providers.

Naturally, today all of the ratings and comparative tariffs of each and every insurance company are posted online enabling easy comparison. But there is a problem - there's nothing at all about how any insurance company takes care of its customers when something serious happens. And that variable is exactly the most important one of all when determining the quality of one health insurance company over another!

We believe that focused, reliable, rapid response to each individual's situation and specific needs must be of paramount importance.

Customer Satisfaction Is The Measure

The surest way of finding out how good a health insurance company is consists of the level of customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth. Far more important than looking at cost is learning how the Krankenkasse responds to customers' needs in serious situations.

While colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances can provide reliable information about their own experiences with their "Kasse" the Internet enables you to learn about countless others' evaluations online. Within just a few clicks you can get some pretty good feedback and anecdotal evidence revealing which health insurances providers offer the best support and customer satisfaction.

Reviewing a slew of comments, you quickly can discover which companies are suitable for you. Also, be sure to ask questions and note answers carefully before making a final selection. It's more than a matter of money. It's your health!

Contributed by SBK Siemens-Betriebkrankenkasse. SBK is one of the largest company health insurance funds in Germany and is among the 20 largest statutory health insurance funds. More than one million members rely on the expert advice, the multi-award-winning customer service and the excellent services that are provided. Anybody can sign-up with SBK, regardless of employer. For more information - www.sbk.org/expats

Health care made personal