German health insurance companies (Krankenkasse) offer their policyholders (MItglied) the possibility of including family members in their policies free of charge (Familienversicherung-“Fami”), especially if: they are not subject to the obligation to have their own insurance, they are not self-employed and do not fall within the insurance exemptions due as public employees. However, the rules are a bit complicated, so it is generally better to inquire at your insurance.
The family members are: the spouse, partner in a registered partnership, children, grandchildren, stepchildren or adoptive children whom the insured provides for maintenance without being entitled to compensation.
Children are covered free of charge by “Fami” until their 18th birthday or until their 25th birthday at the latest, if they are still unemployed or enrolled in regular courses of study, such as Ausbildung or university courses. The same applies to all those who carry out a social – or ecological – voluntary year without pay or who perform voluntary youth service abroad, so that each month of such activity (just like military service) extends the non-contributory insurance for the same period beyond the 25th birthday.
Those who benefit from free membership of the Familienversicherung cannot earn more than 455€ per month (450€ in case of mini-job). One-off payments as well as income from rent and leasing or annuities, child support payments or investment income are taken into account.
Parental leave without contributions
Insured persons at Krankenkasse remain insured also during parental leave (Elternzeit) and without having to pay the monthly fee, but only if the employment relationship will resume regularly after parental leave period. The same applies to voluntarily insured persons (freiwillige versichert) who are entitled to family insurance, i.e. whose spouse or partner is insured under the public Krankenkasse. On the other hand, students, self-employed and unemployed persons as well as voluntary insured persons without entitlement to family insurance must continue to pay contributions. It should be noted that the parental benefit (Elterngeld) remains non-contributory in itself.