Ottonova Review for Expats – An Honest 2021 Guide

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Whether you are looking into moving to Germany or whether you are already living in my beautiful country, health insurance is a must, by law, and for your own well-being. Ottonova has disrupted the German private health industry for the past three years. In this Ottonova review, we will shed some light on the pros and cons and whether Ottonova is a good choice for you.

What is Ottonova?

Ottonova is a private health insurance company in Germany. It was founded in 2017 and is challenging the status quo of traditional insurance companies. It is the first and only private health insurance company that is 100% digital and officially offers its services and customer support in English. That being said, it is a favorite amongst expats.

Ottonova simplifies the complexity of German insurances, especially for foreigners. On top of that, they offer an exclusive non-EU expat plan at a reduced rate, should you be staying in Germany for less than five years.

Ottonova Health Insurance homepage
Source: Ottonova

How does the German Health Insurance System work?

The German healthcare system is renowned for being one of the best in the world. Yet, like many things in Germany, it is quite complicated. Let us simplify it for you.

Anyone living in Germany and anyone applying for a work visa needs to have certified German health insurance.

There are two types of health insurances in Germany:

  • Public health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung or GKV)
  • Private health insurance (private Krankenversicherung or PKV)

You can not always choose which type of health insurance you would like to have, as it depends on your type of employment and your salary.

The cost for public health insurance is based on your salary, whereas private health insurance is based on your age and health.

There is a difference in how treatment costs are handled between public and private health insurance in Germany.

  • Public health insurance: You present your public health insurance card at the doctor’s office and they handle the billing to your insurance provider.
  • Private health insurance: You need to pay everything up front and you need to take care of requesting reimbursements from your health insurer.

Related Guide: Private Vs Public Health Insurance In Germany

Who can get Ottonova health insurance in Germany?

You can apply for full private health insurance cover and hence for Ottonova if you fulfill the following criteria:

  • you are employed and earn more than 64.350 euros per year before tax in 2021 (Jahresarbeitentgeltgrenze or JAEG)
  • you are self-employed (selbstständig)
  • you are a freelancer (Freiberufler)
  • you are a doctor

There are of course other individual aspects that a private health insurer will check, before signing you up. If you do not qualify for any of the above or other criteria, you must get public health insurance, for example, from Techniker Krankenkasse (TK).

In case, you are still on the job hunt, neither private nor public health insurance might accept you. That is when expat health insurance is your best option. It is temporary health insurance for expats until they find a job and can switch to full-time health insurance.

Feather, who is an expat insurance broker, offers such expat health insurance. You can sign up online in less than two minutes.

Which health insurance is best in Germany?

Whether public or private health insurance is better is a hot topic, also amongst Germans.

The fact is that private health insurance has many benefits, such as faster doctors’ appointments, single rooms in hospitals, treatment by the chief physician, and better coverage.

Should you be young, healthy, and earning well (which we hope you are ☺️), and will only spend some months or years in Germany, private health insurance can be a lot cheaper than public health insurance.

However, should you want to retire in Germany, with age, private health insurance costs could increase compared to public insurance.

We cannot tell you which type of insurance is better for you, as every person is different and health insurance is highly individual. You should know, though, that you cannot change your mind and change to public insurance a year later once you choose private health insurance. It is quite difficult to change from private to public.

Before you wreck your brain on whether you should go public or private, we suggest checking with Ottonova first, whether you qualify to be insured with them. Ottonova offers a free phone consultation before you start your application process.

Schedule your free Ottonova phone consultation. Don’t worry; they speak English 😉.

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Can you apply for your German visa with Ottonova?

Yes, you can. Ottonova is certified as official German health insurance for your visa application. You need to provide proof of having German health insurance approved by the German government upon your visa appointment and upon receiving your residence permit after you have moved to Germany.

Global travel insurance like Mawista, CareConcept, and Cigna might not be enough.

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What is covered with Ottonova health insurance?

Ottonova private health insurance in Germany has excellent coverage of general and special medical treatments. Here are the primary services that Ottonova reimburses:

Visits to the doctor: All doctor visits and specialist doctors with a referral from a general practitioner.

Digital calls with doctors: From diagnosis to the treatment plan, to sick note for work, Ottonova supports e-health.

Hospital care and surgeries: You can request to be treated by the chief physician or surgeon and have the right to a single room.

Dental care: Dental cleanings (twice a year) and tooth fillings and root canal treatments.

Medicine: 100% of the cost of prescribed medication. Be sure to hand in the prescription from your doctor and the receipt from the pharmacy.

Vaccinations: All general and travel vaccinations.

Glasses: 300 euros for contact lenses or glasses every two years.

Vision correction: 750 euros for each eye for vision correction surgery.

Coverage abroad: Unlimited cover within the EU and two months cover overseas.

Pregnancy: Prenatal courses and therapy during and after childbirth.

Natural Healing Methods: Massages and ergotherapy.

Naturopath: Homeopathy and all alternative treatments.

Psychotherapy: 75% of the cost per session.

How much is private health insurance for foreigners in Germany?

The cost of private health insurance in Germany lies, on average, anywhere between 150 to 600 euros per month. That is a big range, as it depends entirely on your personal needs and situation.

Ottonova offers three different plans. The reduced ‘First Class Expats’ tariff for non-EU expats, the ‘Premium Economy’ plan, the ‘Business Class’ plan, and the ‘First Class’ plan. The ‘First Class’ insurance plan starts at around 165 euros per month.

Ottonova tariffs
Source: Ottonova

Why are there cheaper rates for non-EU expats?

Usually, private insurances charge you higher monthly rates while you are young so that the premiums won’t rise as much later in your life. However, if you are planning to stay in Germany for only a few months or years, it does not make sense for you to pay higher rates now, as you won’t be around to benefit from this ‘pre-payment’.

EU expats are allowed to move and live freely within the EU and do not need a special visa to live in Germany. By law, Ottonova can only offer the reduced rates to expats, who hold a limited residency permit.

After you have lived in Germany for five years, you will be able to receive a permanent residence permit. This is also the reason why the expats plan is only available for up to five years. Should you end up staying in Germany longer than five years, no need to worry, you can easily switch your Ottonova plan to one of the other three Ottonova options, without submitting another health assessment.

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Should you go with Ottonova?

Benefits of getting Ottonova private health insurance

The benefits of getting private health insurance from Ottonova as an expat in Germany are obvious. You will benefit from a non-bureaucratic, all-digital, and helpful solution with the Ottonova app.

You will handle all of your health matters in English, whether it is with the insurance or with your doctor. In fact, you can access Ottonova‘s customer support, called Concierge service 24/7 and they also make appointments for you with English speaking doctors.

The processing time for your reimbursement is very short compared to traditional private health insurers.

You enjoy all the benefits of the German health system, in case you need them.

Compared to other private health insurers, Ottonova has stellar reviews on Trustpilot.

Ottonova Review on Trustpilot
Source: Trustpilot
ottonova - German Health Insurance for Expats

Book your free consultation online and find out, whether ottonova is for you.

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Controversy around Ottonova private health insurance

Since Ottonova is a young start-up in the Insurtech industry and the first newly founded private health insurance in Germany in decades, skepticism and controversy are natural.

In this reddit thread, you get a good picture of whether or not Ottonova is safe insurance compared to the old traditional German insurances. The main arguments are whether you want to rely your health on a young start-up. The counter-argument is that Ottonova is backed by Debeka, Germany’s largest private health insurance. Thus, the risk of Ottonova going out of business and losing your insurance is relatively low.

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My personal verdict on Ottonova

Why am I sharing this Ottonova reddit thread, you might ask? Because Simple Germany is all about providing you with comprehensive information on complex bureaucratic German services. We do not want to sugar coat and sell you things, but instead, give you a holistic review. We want you to be able to make educated decisions.

Do I believe Ottonova is a good choice?

Yes, I do. It is a fantastic insurance company for expats without family staying less than five years in Germany. You will not find any other insurance company in Germany, with the same portfolio, English customer service, and digital ease of handling things.

Schedule a free consultation with Ottonova and form your own opinion.

ottonova - German Health Insurance for Expats

Book your free consultation online and find out, whether ottonova is for you.

Book your free consultation now Learn More
Transparency: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Should you plan on staying in Germany for good, for example, because you moved to be with your German partner, I would suggest you get a professional consultation from an insurance broker, like Feather.

Feather specializes in consulting expats living in Germany in English. And guess what, they are also 100% digital. The best part is that their services are entirely free for you, as they receive commissions from the insurance companies.

Conclusion

In this Ottonova review, you learned that this health insurer is definitely worth taking a closer look at, should you be a freelancer or self-employed or earn more than 64.350 euros as an employee. It is a young fresh start-up backed by Germany’s largest private health insurance. As a non-EU expat, you will get to save big time on health insurance and benefit from the excellent customer service and all-digital app services.

 📣 This article contains affiliate links. When you click on the links of products we mention in this article and purchase it we will receive a small commission. It will not make any difference to you in price, however, it allows us to keep Simple Germany alive and striving.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.

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Yvonne
About the author: Yvonne was born and raised in Germany and has lived in the United States, France, and Spain. She understands the struggle of settling in a new home and is happy to share simple services and tips on how things are done in her home country, to help expats get their German experience started.