What’s new in Germany 2023. Social, insurances, medicine

Last Updated on September 27, 2023

The social sphere will be in the most turbulent state in 2023, because the old social benefits Harz 4 system is being destroyed, but what will appear to replace it will still have to be seen.

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From 2023, future pensioners will be able to monitor the growth of their pension online: it is planned to introduce a portal from the middle of the year where you can see your contributions.

Pensioners can work without restrictions

From 2023, pensioners can work without restrictions. This applies to both early retirees and those who retired by age.

But it does not apply to those who receive a disability pension. Their limit, however, has risen to 17,823.75 euros per year (total disability ) and 35,647.50 euros per year (partial disability ). At the same time, income from volunteer activities will be included in this limitation. The limit on the number of hours has not changed (no more than 3 hours per day).

Pension increases from July 1

The increase will be from 3.5 to 4.2 percent. The difference between eastern and western pensions will decrease by a few more points and will amount to 0.7 percent. The difference should disappear next year.

Pension in Germany.

Benefits for the unemployed and the needy

Bürgergeld instead Harz IV

Apparently, Bürgergeld will still be introduced from January 1, although it was still so uncertain in autumn that it was unbelievable. Thus Arbeitslosengeld II (ALG II) will be cancelled.

Singles will receive 502 euros, couples will receive 902 euros. Children will be paid from 318 to 420 euros depending on their age.

For one year, housing expenses will also be paid without limitation, without checking whether this cost complies with the rules. Also, in the first year, savings in the amount of 40 thousand for one person and plus 15 thousand for all other family members are not taken into account. After the first year it will be 15.000 euros for the person.

Sanctions and punishments should be lighter, and the requirement to take any possible job should be replaced with the encouragement of advanced training.

Wohngeld will be upgraded and expanded

A significantly larger number of residents can count on Wohngeld. For example, a family with two children and a net income of up to 3,270 euros (all income except Kindergeld) and an apartment fee of 970 euros (Warmmiete) can already receive 50 euros from the state.

Wohngeld also applies to homeowners. Their expenses include housing costs, tax, Tilgung loan.

Wohngeld is calculated on a case-by-case basis, so there is no way to predict how much you may receive and whether you are eligible. In any case, it makes sense to calculate here.

Changing the Düsseldorf table

Like every year, the Düsseldorf table was changed – the amounts for the maintenance of children. This table is used to calculate financial assistance, including Kinderzuschlag. You can find the table on this website.

Benefits for families in Germany

Medicine and insurance

Increasing the percentage of state health insurance and maximum amounts for social insurance

GKV (state health insurance) insured persons usually receive information about the increase in percentage in writing. In 2023, until the middle of the year, insurance companies are exempt from this obligation. This will allow them to slightly offset the costs after two years of the pandemic.

You need this information if you want to change your insurance policy outside the Kündigungsfrist, because after a percentage increase you can do this within one month.

How to change health insurance in Germany

In addition, the maximum amount from which the percentage on insurance is calculated and the amount within which the employee is required to be insured with the state insurance are increased (which means an increase in contributions).

In health insurance:
– the maximum amount increases to 4.987.50 euros per month
– border for the state insurance – 66.600 euros per year

Part 1. GKV. How payments are formed

In pension insurance:
– maximum amount – 7.300 / 7.100 euros (west / east)
– average amount for calculating various contributions (for example, pension contributions for entrepreneurs) – 3.395 / 3.290 euros

Sick leave only in electronic form

The sick leave is issued in paper form only to the patient. The employer and the insurance company receive it electronically. However, you must notify your employer. Those insured in private insurance companies are still excluded from the digital circulation of documents.

Increasing percentage on job loss insurance

Arbeitslosenversicherung rises from 2.4 to 2.6 percent.

Increasing contributions to Künstlersozialkasse

Those who are members of the Künstlersozialkasse will now contribute 5 percent.

ePA digital health record gets new features

Examination data, letters from doctors and hospitals, and other important medical data can be stored in the digital medical record. From 2023, it gets more features, including saving the recipe.

Prescription in Germany. Red, blue, green prescriptions – when you must pay

In practice, this still works poorly. I started this record, but a year ago it was all so terribly inconvenient and limited that it was unrealistic to use if you have a family.

In my opinion, the records should be accessible through a PC, because working with documents through a phone is a mockery. Now you can connect via a PC, but only with a card reader and only with very limited functions.
And I still can’t imagine how doctor’s assistants will upload something to your system, since they work in absolute time pressure and I don’t see the time to implement all these digital capabilities. No one even offers an electronic prescription yet, and you don’t want to demand when there is a line of 10 people behind you or when the doctor put the prescription in your hands when leaving the office.

The idea is good, of course. For example, the patient is asked each time how he tolerates anesthesia. The patient receives this information in a very shortened form from the doctor after the operation, when he still does not think well and comes to his senses in the ward. Naturally, few people are able to remember what they told him there. Sometimes it comes to the absurdity: after three months in the hospital, two of which are in intensive care under anesthesia, and one on decreasing anesthesia in the ward, the anesthesiologist asks me before the final check operation how my child tolerates anesthesia.

For such cases, as for x-rays and diagnostic letters, many of which did not remain in your archive, but were given to the doctor in a sealed envelope, this medical record would be very useful.

But for now, the implementation, like any digitalization in Germany, rests on a basic fear of the Internet. (What if Google steals a priceless x-ray of your lower back and gives them to the American government, and you can’t sue it, horror!)

By the way, while ePAs don’t work as they should, if you are given any letter from one doctor to another, don’t forget to open it, copy it for your archive, and put it in another envelope. Then you will not get this information in any way (you will have to ask for a printout of documents, but also often pay for it).

Disappearance of some medicines

As many have noticed, some cold medicines have disappeared from pharmacies. This is associated both with global crises (disease outbreaks), and with the fact that it is not profitable to produce these medicines at fixed insurance prices, so small producers suspended production, and there were not enough productions of the large manufacturers. Let’s hope all this will be back to normal soon. At least I’m starting to see them again in pharmacies, although the prices have gone up.

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