Health insurance as a requirement for your visa and stay in Germany

German health insurance is mandatory by law meaning that every resident must be medically insured. No visa will be issued for internationals without sufficient health insurance coverage and no residence permit will be allowed unless there is proof of sufficient medical coverage for the duration of the stay. Thus, it is important to get yourself informed about the requirements as well as the health insurance options you as an expat have when moving to Germany.

Travel health insurance for your German entry visa

First and foremost, keep in mind that the health insurance you will be asked to provide to enter the country and the insurance you need for your stay in Germany are two different things you need to take care of. Get to know the difference in the requirements beforehand to prepare your application documents correctly and increase your chances of getting a visa or residence permit in time.

While still in your home country, it is often challenging to get in contact with German companies and arrange certain documents without being properly registered in Germany or having supporting certificates.

Health insurance is no exception and for that reason, you need to ensure and prove that you are properly insured for the first few months in Germany until you have settled down and sorted out all your documents. Private health insurance providers are offering a solution for visa applicants that is easy to obtain from another country and does not require additional documents. This insurance type is often referred to as “travel” or “incoming” health insurance.

Based on your situation, you can either make use of it during your first months in Germany and then switch it to a more suitable option such as governmental health insurance or stay privately insured for the rest of your stay.

> Learn more about the health insurance alternatives in Germany below.

Health insurance requirements for a German entry visa

Make sure to check what kind of health insurance requirements are listed by the specific embassy you will go to when submitting your visa application. Typically, there are two basic conditions that your health insurance needs to fulfil – sufficient coverage and duration.

For how long do I need to be covered by my travel health insurance?

In most cases, applicants are required to provide a health insurance certificate for at least the first 3 months of their stay. However, some of the embassies abroad might also require you to be covered for a period of 6 months after entry.

What coverage do I need to have with my travel health insurance?

At best, you need to have unlimited coverage offered by your health insurance provider.

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Our specially integrated bundle of a blocked account and health insurance comes with free travel health insurance for your German entry visa and a whole list of extra benefits.

Health insurance for your stay in Germany

German health insurance system

The German healthcare system is one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. Since 2009 every person that has a permanent residence in Germany is obliged to have some form of health insurance, whether statutory (governmental) or private. This measure was undertaken by the government after the medical reform in 2007 to support the health insurance companies who were failing to cover the costs of their clients. This law also helps to prevent situations when one must privately cover the costs of medical care or medications in case of illness or an accident. Around 87% of the German population have sufficient health insurance.

German health insurance alternatives

Once you are in Germany, two different options become available for you to ensure sufficient health insurance coverage:

✔ Governmental health insurance (public, statutory or “Gesetzliche Krankenkasse” in German)

A limited number of public health insurance providers operate on the German market. The government strictly regulates their operations as well as their pricing policies.

✔ Private health insurance (“Private Krankenversicherung“ in German)

Whereas the governmental health insurance is accessible for everyone studying or working in Germany, certain conditions apply for private health insurance depending on such factors as the purpose of stay, country of origin etc. However, in most of the cases, it is up to you to decide whether you want to go for governmental or private health insurance.

Differences between public and private health insurance providers

Comparison of German health insurance types

Medical coverage

The statutory health insurance covers general medical needs, including basic dental care. More specific medical treatments are covered only by a private insurance provider.

Costs

Public health insurance is much more affordable than the private one since its premium rate is regulated by the state. Private health insurance premiums are different for each individual policyholder and depend on the state of health, age and scope of benefits – which means that it can quickly become very expensive.

Coverage of the dependents

Whereas public health insurance may also cover your spouse/wife or children, private health insurance normally only covers the policyholder.

Travel coverage

Private health insurance normally has wider geographical coverage and provides extensive medical assistance during your travels.

Eligibility for private health insurance

There are certain groups of people who are normally always privately insured:

  • Employees with a gross salary higher than € 4.950 per month (2018)
  • Public servants
  • Self-employed persons and freelancers
  • Students older than 30 years old or have finished their 14th semester

There are also ways to apply for exemption from compulsory insurance for other groups of German residents. For international guests in Germany, the private health insurance companies often offer special rates which are adapted to the needs and length of the stay.

Good to know before you apply for a health insurance

  • If you want to change your health insurance company, this is normally only possible after 18 months.
  • If you would like to change your insurance scheme from public to private, it is required to notify the insurance provider 2 months in advance.
  • Foreign students under 30 years old have an opportunity to be privately insured as well. However, they first need to request a certificate of exemption from the statutory health insurance for enrolment. Please note that afterwards, it is impossible to return to the statutory insurance plan.
  • When privately insured, all treatment costs must be paid in advance by the policyholder. Afterwards, the insurance company will reimburse the costs upon submission of an invoice (cost reimbursement principle).

Useful information for when you need healthcare assistance in Germany

Emergency numbers

Please use the following emergency contacts in situations when you urgently need medical treatment. You can make those calls anytime and free of charge.

112 – Ambulance and/or fire brigade (in the whole Europe)

110 – Police

Medical on-call service

Once you need to get urgent medical assistance outside of regular working hours, you can either

  • 116117 – use the on-call medical service provided by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians or
  • contact the emergency department of the municipal hospital or the local university hospital

Learn more about health insurance in Germany

Watch the explanatory video of our statutory health insurance partner DAK-Gesundheit which explains what you need to do and how health insurance works in Germany.

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From preparing your stay to mastering your visa application and navigating through daily life in Germany. Our Study Guide within the Fintiba app provides you with relevant information throughout all important stages of your German adventure – tailored to your individual situation.

Last update: 08-12-2020

* With the Free Travel Health Insurance in the Fintiba Plus package, you can save up to € 95.00. Please note that your right for free travel health insurance will expire if you do not activate either the private or statutory health insurance included in the package. We will issue an insurance confirmation which is valid for 183 days.

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