International students in Germany have to get health insurance before they are allowed to enroll in their school and obtain a residence permit. Student health insurance in Germany is designed to be more affordable than it is for other categories of people.
Usually, the health care system in Germany requires the majority of residents to pay health insurance based on their income. However, students in Germany pay a standard discounted amount in contributions, regardless of their financial status (unless they are employed).
What Should Student Health Insurance in Germany Include?
When you are getting student health insurance in Germany, it must cover at least the following:
- In-patient hospital care.
- Out-patient care.
- Regular medical check-ups.
- The cost of medications.
- Basic dental care.
- Pregnancy treatment.
- Emergency services (ambulance)
- In case of death:
- Repatriation of remains
- Funeral costs
How to Get Proof of Student Health Insurance in Germany?
In order to get proof of student health insurance in Germany, you have to personally contact your private health insurance company and request a certificate. This certificate should contain details of your insurance plan, such as how much it covers and for what duration.
In most cases, health insurance providers will have information on the type of document you need to submit and will be able to issue it to you.
If you have a private health insurance plan, you still have to go to a public health insurance provider in your area and obtain proof that you have been exempt from public/statutory health insurance, and that your current private insurance meets the requirements. This also applies if you already have an acceptable health insurance plan from your home country (only applicable to the countries that have social security agreements with Germany.)
Options for Student Health Insurance in Germany
There are two types of health insurance in Germany: public (statutory) or private. Whether you will be eligible for public or private health insurance depends on the status of your studies and your age.
Public Health Insurance for Students in Germany
All students in degree courses in Germany who are under 30 years of age must have public health insurance. You will not be able to register at your university unless you have a certificate that proves you have obtained adequate coverage. You can receive the certificate at the health insurance company where you are covered.
The majority of residents in Germany (about 90%) are registered in a public health insurance plan. Non-students (employees, freelancers) pay their health insurance contributions based on their income (usually 14%-15% of one’s salary goes to health insurance). However, students in Germany only have to pay about €110 per month (+/- €5) – at least until they turn 30. This is lower than the required minimum in other circumstances.
You cannot register for public health insurance in Germany if:
- You have health insurance in your home country and it is recognized in Germany through a social security agreement. (EU States, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Morocco, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, and Turkey.)
- You are over 30 years of age.
- You are working as a freelancer or are self-employed.
- You are not enrolled in a degree course in Germany yet (e.g: you are still in a preparatory or language course).
Please note: If you are working in Germany during your studies and you earn more than €450 per month, then you have to be registered as an employee and get health insurance as a foreign worker.
Exemption From Public Health Insurance in Germany for Students
If you are under 30 years of age, but you want to be registered exclusively with a private health insurance company, you have to request a certificate of exemption from the statutory health insurance. You have to apply for exemption within the first three months of starting your studies at the local public health insurance companies.
Once you forfeit your statutory health insurance, you cannot get back on it, at least not for the duration of your studies. You can only re-enroll in public health insurance if you find a job and must be registered as an employee.
Private Health Insurance for Students in Germany
If you fall under one of the following categories, you must purchase student health insurance from a private company in Germany:
- You are over the age of 30
- You are enrolled in a Preparatory or Language Course in Germany
This usually applies to Ph.D. students.
You may still be able to get public health insurance even if you aren’t technically eligible if:
- You are enrolled in mandatory training after finishing your degree
- You must care for disabled or sick relatives
- You have an illness or disability
- You will participate in a board of the university
- Due to the birth of a child
Keep in mind:
If you were covered by public health insurance in Germany before you started your Ph.D. program (not as a student), you can choose to keep your public insurance or transfer to a private one.
Since public health insurance only covers basic medical needs, many students in Germany (even if they are not eligible for private insurance) choose to get a supplemental private health insurance plan for more coverage. This means as an international student in Germany under the age of 30, you can get private health insurance as long as:
- It is in addition to the public/statutory insurance; or
- You are not eligible for public health insurance; or
- You have applied for exemption from public insurance
How to Get Student Health Insurance in Germany?
After you arrive in Germany, before you enroll in your chosen university, you have to get health insurance from one of the health insurance companies known as Krankenkassen. Once you contact one of them, they will provide you with their plans and give you the details and the documents required. Make sure that you choose a plan which has adequate coverage as required by German universities.
You can also look at health insurance plans for students in Germany at EDUCARE24 by Dr. Walter.
Before arriving in Germany, you have to apply for a German Student Visa from one of the German embassies or consulates abroad. In this case, you will also need a short-term travel health insurance plan, which will cover you for the initial period of your stay until you obtain long-term health insurance. Travel health insurance is a requirement of the German visa application process, but you cannot use your travel insurance as a substitute for student health insurance in Germany.
Please note that the specific requirements for Germany Student Visa health insurance can change between countries, so make sure to inquire with the adequate German embassy/consulate in your country.
Student Health Insurance in Germany for Preparatory or Language Course Students
International students in Germany who are following a preparatory or language course cannot obtain public health insurance because they still do not count as degree course students. Instead, they must purchase student health insurance from a private insurance company. Once they finish their preparatory courses, they can register for public health insurance and enroll in their chosen university in Germany.
Read more: Language Course Visa for Germany
Health Insurance for Exchange Students in Germany
Exchange students are usually enrolled in a degree course in Germany, which means they are eligible for regular public/statutory health insurance, despite the fact they will usually only be there for one or two semesters.
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