Hüttermann / DAAD
The German healthcare system with its dense network of highly qualified doctors is considered one of the best in the world. As a student in Germany, you benefit from optimum medical care and affordable insurance coverage. Either with an inexpensive compulsory student insurance policy with a German health insurance fund. Or with existing health insurance coverage policy from your home country which is recognised in Germany. Whatever the case: you cannot register at a German university without health insurance.
Health insurance for students If you wish to study in Germany, you always need health insurance. All statutory health insurance funds in the country are obliged to insure students up to the age of 30 (or to the end of the 14th full study semester) at a favourable student rate. If you turn 30 (or study for longer than 14 semesters) in Germany, you can continue to be insured through a statutory health insurance fund by paying a higher premium. If you are already older than 29 when you start studying, you can only take out private health insurance.
Important: Find out before your departure whether your health insurance from your home country is also recognised in Germany! This is the case:
• if a social security agreement exists between your country and Germany. This applies, among others, to members of the European Union as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Macedonia. An updated list of countries to which this applies is available on the website of the German Liaison Office for Health Insurance Abroa.
• with certain German or foreign health insurance companies.
You come from a country which has a social security agreement with Germany?
Find out from your university's International Office in good time which papers you need to present as proof of your health insurance coverage. EU nationals usually require a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or an E 128/E 111 form.
Important: Foreign insurance companies do not always pay for all the costs of medical treatment in Germany. In such cases, you will be obliged to pay for additional expenses yourself.
Insured in your home country
Are you insured in your home country?
Find out from your health insurance company whether it is also recognised in Germany. If it is, you will require confirmation that you are exempt from statutory health insurance when you register at your German university. Such confirmation can be obtained from any of the many German health insurance funds.
Please note: If you have private health insurance, you may not switch to the statutory health insurance scheme during the course of your studies. Also: Those with private insurance must pay for all medical treatment and medication in Germany in advance and then claim for reimbursement from their health insurance company.
You do not have health insurance that is valid in Germany?
If the insurance coverage you have in your home country is not recognised in Germany, you must take out a health insurance policy in this country.
Most students in Germany are insured with a statutory health insurance fund. In some cases, however, it is also possible to take out private insurance.
Insurance premium rates for students with statutory insurance funds are currently around 80 euro a month. This amount applies until the 14th semester and up to the age of 30.
After this, rates increase to at least 160 euro a month.
Important to know: Spouses and children of the insured person are included in the insurance for free if they have no (or only a minimal) income of their own. Make sure you pay your health insurance premiums regularly, otherwise you will be struck off the university register.
Ask the "Studentenwerk" at your university about the service package for international students. Alongside accommodation and canteen vouchers, this package usually also includes health insurance!
Six things you should know about German health insurance
- As a member of a health insurance fund, you will receive an insurance card which you are required to present whenever you go to the doctor's.
- There are many statutory health insurance funds in Germany. All of these insurance funds have to take you on as a member if you are subject to compulsory insurance. Basic contributions are identical. However, some health insurance funds charge an additional premium. So make sure you ask!
- You can only obtain medication in Germany from pharmacies, and many are only available on prescription. Even if you have a prescription from your doctor, you have to contribute between 5 and 13 euro per medication yourself. Depending on your financial situation and in the case of chronic illnesses, patients may be exempted from having to make personal contributions. Inquire at your health insurance fund.
- If you become so ill that you have to be hospitalised, you don't need to worry about the costs of treatment. These are paid for the most part by your health insurance fund (with a maximum of 10 euro personal contribution per day).
- For some kinds of therapy, medical checkups and in particular dental treatment, you may have to pay a significant amount yourself. All doctors are obliged to inform you explicitly in advance of any additional expenses you may incur for so-called "individual health services", and it is up to you to decide whether or not you use these extra services. If in doubt, contact your health insurance fund.
- As a patient in Germany, you have a right to choose your own doctor. This means you can in general decide yourself which doctor to consult or which hospital you wish to be treated in. The only condition is that if you are a member of a statutory health insurance fund, your doctor must be registered on the German health insurance panel, in other words, he or she is entitled to settle payments with your health insurance fund.