Why Germany's long-term nurse care insurance is vital to the social welfare system

Approximately 3.3 million people in Germany are dependent on permanent care due to illness or injury. Since ongoing and sustained care results in a heavy strain on the resources of the German healthcare system, all residents in Germany pay obligatorily long-term nurse care insurance as part of the five pillars of German social insurance.

Whilst both contributions for long-term nurse care insurance and general health insurance are made to an individual’s same health insurance provider, they are in fact a separate form of insurance.

The impact of long-term nurse care insurance

Long-term nurse care insurance was established so that care could be facilitated for individuals in a way that supported their ability to regain or maintain physical, mental and emotional strength in the long-term, in a way that is economically sustainable.

Since long-term nurse care insurance allows the individual to determine how they are cared for and by whom, underpinning this type of health insurance is the notion that individuals should be allowed to enjoy an independent and self-determined life as much as possible.

As a result, more than 890,000 people who receive the benefits of long-term nurse care insurance live in homes, whilst the remaining 2.4 million receive outpatient care.

Given that monthly expenses for care can often equate to several thousand euros or more per month, approximately 70% of individuals who are cared for in nursing homes are dependent on social welfare and the funds provided by long-term nurse care insurance.

How the contribution rate of long-term nurse care insurance works

Not to be confused with regular health insurance, long-term nurse care is an additional type of insurance that is provided alongside an individual's baseline health insurance obligations. It works similar to general health insurance in the way that employees and employers pay half the contribution each. However, whilst the contribution rate for nurse care insurance for those who are publicly insured is currently 3.05% and 3.3% for those without children, this rate has steadily increased since its introduction in 1995 at just 1%.

It should also be noted that members of the public health insurance scheme who are 23 or older who have no children pay a surcharge for the scheme, which does not exist for those who are privately insured. Similar to the way regular private health insurance works, contributions for those privately insured are determined by the level of risk assumed by the private health insurer and is dictated by factors such as age and health status.

Another exception to the standard contribution rate of long-term nurse care insurance is present in the federal state of Saxony. In Saxony, the day of penance and prayer has not been abolished as a public holiday. For this reason, employers were not obligated to pay half of the contribution rate that applied when the nurse care insurance was first introduced back in 1995. As a result, today employers pay 0.5 percent less of the nurse care insurance contribution and employees pay 0.5 percent more compared to the other federal states of Germany.

Still unsure about how long-term care nurse contributions work? Or what your responsibilities are as a publicly or privately insured employee to pay this form of German social insurance? Please get in touch with us today.

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