While receiving the parental benefit (Elterngeld), the parent will remain insured with the same Health Insurance (Krankenkasse) as before, whether private or public. The contributions to health insurance may vary, it is therefore better to consult the health insurance company before applying for the Eltergeld.
If you are insured with one of the so-called public health insurance companies (e.g.: Aok, TK, etc.) and you do not receive any other income except for the parental benefit, you are entitled to remain insured with the same insurance company free of charge while receiving the Elterngeld or while you are in Elternzeit (parental leave).
If you receive an income during the parental benefit period (e.g. because you work part-time), you will still have to continue to pay the monthly contribution to your health insurance, the same applies to students who continue to remain enrolled in their course of study even if they are in Elternzeit or perceive Elterngeld. If you are enrolled in the “FAMI” family health insurance (i.e. you are included in the spouse’s/partner’s insurance), you will not have to continue paying the monthly insurance contribution.
If you are voluntarily enrolled in the public health insurance (freiwillig versichert) you will still have to continue to pay the minimum monthly contribution; however, you will receive a higher parental benefit, because no lump sum for insurance premiums is deducted in the calculation of the previous net income. For those who are “freiwillig versichert”, and are not single, the advice is always to check if it is possible to apply for the partner’s FAMI, so that you do not have to pay the monthly insurance contribution.
Those who are insured with a private health insurance company, will unfortunately have to continue to pay the full monthly contribution to their Krankenkasse, including the part of the fee that was previously due to the employer; however, they will receive parental benefits with a higher amount, as no lump sum is deducted for insurance contributions when determining your previous net income. It is not, unfortunately, possible to switch from private to public insurance when you receive Elterngeld or you are in Elternzeit.