Table of content
- Health Insurance for your visa application
- Governmental health insurance
- Private health insurance
- Differences between private and governmental health insurance
Health Insurance for your visa application
You will probably be confronted with the German health insurance system for the first time when applying for your visa. To be granted a visa, in most cases you need to provide proof of incoming or travel health insurance for the initial period of your stay in Germany. Usually, it must cover the first three to six months of your stay, depending on the authority you are applying at. In addition, a first confirmation of another private or governmental health insurance covering you during the rest of your stay in Germany is required as well. The difference between the two confirmations is that travel health insurance requires a paid insurance policy or an equivalent to that. On the other hand, for private or governmental health insurance, a confirmation of your application is usually sufficient. This is mainly the case because most health insurances can only insure you once you are residing in Germany and, therefore, do not conclude actual contracts with you in advance.
Health insurance to-dos after your arrival in Germany
When arriving in Germany, you are covered with travel health insurance. This insurance, however, will likely not suffice for your studies in Germany, regardless of whether you participate in a preparational course at a Studienkolleg or start with your actual studies already. When enrolling at your university, it is mandatory to prove sufficient health insurance coverage during the full course of your studies. However, you have the freedom to choose any health insurance you want as long as it fulfils the requirements of the university. In the following, you will find more information on governmental health insurances and private health insurances to find out which one you would need for yourself.
It is worth noting that you will likely pay your monthly health insurance contributions via SEPA mandate, but you can also agree on different possibilities. However, you are going to handle it, please always make sure to pay your contributions in due time. Otherwise, the health insurance provider can contact your university which can lead to your exmatriculation.
Governmental health insurance – a suitable choice for most international students
What you need to know about governmental health insurance as a student
You can enrol at a German university with the student tariffs of governmental health insurance providers if your university is state recognised and as long as you are below 30 years old. If you fulfil these requirements, the fees you have to pay every month depend on the health insurance provider you choose. However, the fees are always based on a state-regulated base amount, to which health insurance companies can add additional fees. It is worth to mention that you will be insured for both, health insurance and nursing-care insurance at your insurance provider of choice. These two insurances are always connected and are both mandatory. Costs for both change frequently (every one or two years). Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that students above 23 years of age that do not have children have to pay an additional 0.25% for nursing-care insurance. Considering that, in the student tariff, the base amount you will have to pay for governmental health insurance is € 76.85. While for nursing-care insurance the amount including the additional 0.25 % is € 24.82, it would add up to a total of at least 101.67 € per month. Most insurances then add between 3.00 € and 13.00 € per month on top.
However, in case you are above 30 years of age or your university is not state recognised, you cannot go into the student tariff of governmental health insurances. If you still wish to be insured with governmental health insurance, you can voluntarily apply for it. In that case, you will have to provide proof of income, a residence permit with at least 12 months validity and your application for voluntary membership to the insurance provider of your choice. The prices here vary but will likely be around € 200.00 per month.
Enrolling at your university
With governmental health insurance, you will be able to enrol at any university without problems. When enrolling at your university, you will have to provide your insurance documents to the university. These documents usually include the following three components:
- “Meldung der Hochschule über die Einschreibung“ (loosely translates to “Notification of the university about enrolment“)
- “Versicherungsbescheinigung“ (Insurance confirmation)
- “Meldung der Hochschule über Beendigung des Studiums“ (loosely translates to “Notification of the university about exmatriculation“)
The first notification is needed to inform your governmental health insurance partner about the university you are enrolled at. Your university will fill out this form and send it over to your insurance. That way, your personal information and the start of your studies will be transmitted to the insurance company. Your insurance contribution will then be deducted from the date of enrolment indicated in this notification. Please note that after you handed in the “Meldung der Hochschule über die Einschreibung”, your contract will be concluded with the insurance company indicated on it. After this point, changing your insurance provider will not be possible for the next 18 months!
The second document, the “Versicherungsbescheinigung” indicates for the university, with which insurance provider you are insured. This document will remain at the university for the whole period of your studies.
Lastly, the “Notification of the university about exmatriculation” will also remain at your university and will be filled in by them when you end your studies and then sent to your insurance provider. This will inform your insurer about the termination of your studies and your contract will either be terminated or changed accordingly if you start working in Germany directly after your studies.
Private health insurance for students
Private health insurance is the alternative you can choose when you do not want to take out public health insurance. Contrary to public health insurance, private health insurance providers are not legally bound to a specific tariff. Therefore, the prices for private health insurance can vary greatly depending on the provider you choose.
Since the student tariffs of public health insurance are not available for students above 30 years of age or for students at non-government recognized institutions, private health insurance will become more attractive and easier to take out.
Important information on private health insurance
Please note that, in case you are a student that does not fit into either of the two categories above but still want to be privately insured, you need to request an exemption (“Befreiung von der gesetzlichen Krankenversicherungspflicht” in German) from governmental health insurance, which has to be requested at any governmental health insurance provider within the first 3 months after your enrolment. If you miss out on that deadline and fail to hand in such exemption to your university, you will automatically be insured with a provider of governmental health insurance.
Once you are privately insured, you cannot go back into a governmental plan, unless you pick up employment and become subject to compulsory insurance or finish your studies and start a new course that is not directly following up your current studies. To sum it up, within the first 3 months of your studies you will be able to choose whether you want to be privately or governmentally insured. After this period is over and you made your decision, changing your choice becomes very difficult.
Differences between private and governmental health insurance
Private health insurance covers at least the same minimum services as governmental health insurance. However, with private health insurance, you have the possibility to “customise” your package more. Many providers offer basic, medium and luxury packages, with increasing services and prices. The peculiarity of private health insurance is that it does not cover any diseases or circumstances that occurred before you were insured with the company. This includes for example chronic diseases and pregnancy. Another important point to keep in mind is that in private health insurance you first pay your doctor, medication and treatment bills yourself and then hand in the receipt to your insurance provider.
Relevant info about health insurance during Corona
During the current corona pandemic, many questions about health insurance in Germany have reached us. For this reason, we have interviewed insurance experts from our partners DAK and MAWISTA to give you more clarity about the overall situation.
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Last update: 08-12-2020