Is Health Insurance Mandatory in Germany?
The short answer is yes! Every person who is in Germany for purposes other than tourism and temporary visits must have health insurance (in fact, travel health insurance is compulsory for tourists). This is also the case for students and “enrollment at a university is only possible if you have health insurance“. There are many companies and policy alternatives for health insurance and the costs vary. It is therefore useful to start researching early. However, if you have an official health insurance from your country’s pension system (from your spouse, parents, etc.), it is possible in some cases to meet this obligation. Germany has mutual social security agreements with the European Union, the European Economic Area and 20 other countries. You can find a list of these countries on deutsche-rentenversicherung.de. Even if your country is not included in these agreements, it is worth consulting your school’s international office. In some cases, your insurance may also be valid in Germany.
However, it should be noted that these documents only cover emergencies. I can say that without health insurance in Germany, you will have to pay quite high amounts for all non-emergency medical procedures. Private health insurances may also be accepted in some cases. However, if you start your studies this way, you will not be able to switch to German health insurance later on during your studies.
Finally, if you will continue your education with a valid health insurance in your country, either public or private. To apply for enrollment, you will need to obtain a “Versicherungsbestätigung” (a letter stating that you are exempt from compulsory health insurance) from the health insurance companies in Germany. Beginning in January 2022, this document will be exchanged electronically between the insurance company and the school.
Important: Documents from health insurance companies, membership certificates, insurance cards, policies and similar documents are not accepted by universities as proof of insurance! You cannot apply for enrollment without an electronic notification from the valid German health insurance company!
What does health insurance cover?
Unlike some other countries, Germany is a country where you cannot go to a hospital without first receiving primary health care (family medicine). You cannot knock on the neurologist’s door saying you have a headache. You must first go to your family doctor and receive first-stage treatment, and if it is necessary, you must go to the hospital with the referral of your doctor.
There are two types of health insurance in Germany. One is public health insurance and the other is private health insurance. The coverage and prices are of course different. However, I know that some insurance companies offer policies that are a mix of both.
In Germany, health insurance companies (krankenkasse) are established to cover health expenses at all stages. Some companies may offer additional benefits in addition to medical expenses, such as dental care, courses at health clubs, etc. Some companies even refund a certain amount at the end of the year if you rarely see a doctor.
In other words, if you want to guarantee your job, it would be in your best interest to have a policy from a health insurance company. As you know, since our son was studying medicine, he had to undergo tests or vaccinations for internship etc. I know that he and his friends in similar situations pay roughly 60 to 100 Euros for each procedure.
How much does health insurance cost in Germany?
If you do not have a recognized health insurance in Germany, you will need to take out insurance here. The statutory health insurance providers in Germany have to offer an appropriate tariff for students up to the age of 29. It is not possible to give a precise figure here, but I can tell you that student health insurance consists of a health insurance premium called “Krankenkassenbeitrag” and a care fee called “Pflegeversicherungsbeitrag”. The insurance coverage varies depending on the age of the student, whether they are married or have children. Depending on the institution, region and coverage, the compulsory insurance for a single student under the age of 23 is roughly 115 to 130 Euros per month.
Normal rates for German statutory health insurance are considerably higher than these figures. Therefore, if you are 30 or older when you start your studies, private health insurance may make more sense for you. Prices will vary depending on your age and health status. Use the form below to get a free quote.
Is it Possible to Continue with Private Health Insurance?
As I wrote above, in some cases your private health insurance may also be valid for enrollment in school, provided that it is approved by the German health insurance companies. Or you can have compulsory health insurance and switch to private health insurance by waiving all your rights within the first 3 months after enrollment. In both cases, you will no longer be covered by the German general health insurance. You will have to continue with private insurance as long as you are in Germany.
Which organization is the best for health insurance in Germany?
In Germany, there are around 50 organizations, some of which are nationwide and some are state-based. Some of them have a nationwide network and offices (Barmer, AOK, TK, etc.), while others have a much narrower scope, such as a state or a city. In Germany, some companies even have their own “Karankenkasse” (Audi, Bahn, TUI etc.).
If you are looking for the best service, check if there is an office close to the area where you will be staying. It would be in your best interest to choose one of the above-mentioned companies that are widespread throughout the country. However, some companies are better known outside the country and serve a large number of insured people and it can be difficult to get an appointment. After a bad experience at the AOK office, my son said, “I wish I had chosen Barmer, their office is much calmer and the procedures are faster”. However, you should still decide according to the region you live in.
Health insurance for foreign students in Germany
Every student who goes to Germany to study must have compulsory health insurance. This health insurance is one of the documents you will be asked for when you enroll at the university. The good thing about being fully insured is that if you have a health problem, you can see a doctor and receive hospital services knowing that you won’t have to pay those huge medical bills out of pocket.
Health insurance for language students
Are you planning to study German in Germany? German law requires health insurance for this stay as well. Many students choose Germany as a country to learn German because it is the motherland of the language. There are language courses and programs that require you to stay in Germany for a few weeks or a few months. However, since you will mainly live in Germany for the duration of the course, German law still requires compulsory health insurance. However, I know that language school students cannot have public health insurance, so you have to have private health insurance.
Health insurance for a preparatory course / preparatory school in Germany
Many German universities require you to enroll in a preparatory course (also called a preparatory school) and take exams before you can start studying and attending classes in the regular university program if you do not have language proficiency. If the international office of the university you wish to study at has granted conditional admission in this way, you will probably need to provide proof of health insurance in addition to the other required application documents.
German law requires you to have health insurance for the duration of your stay. As a preparatory course participant, you cannot be insured by the statutory health insurance as you have not yet been approved as a student. You must therefore take out private health insurance.
Some companies have personalized health insurance plans for foreign students and can insure you for the entire duration of your preparatory course, with the option to extend your insurance if you stay in Germany to continue your studies.
Health insurance for exchange students (Erasmus) in Germany
You also need health insurance to enter Germany as an exchange student. Whether you want to study in Germany for a semester or a year as an exchange student or through programs such as Erasmus, you must have student health insurance.
German law requires everyone in Germany to have health insurance, so you need a plan that complies with this law. You have two options when it comes to health insurance in Germany like students studying full-time, one is the general health insurance that all citizens receive but only covers basic health issues and the second is private health insurance which can be customized according to your needs.
Most exchange students in Germany choose the private insurance that is tailored to their needs as it includes more services.
Where You Can Get Health Insurance
As I said, there are many options, if you have a little time, do some research on the websites of insurance companies and write to them. But I suggest you ask Mr. Can for your alternative offer with his widespread network and advantageous prices. You can use the form below for contact.