Health Insurance is compulsory for every resident of Germany including incoming international students.
Are you planning to move to Germany for studies? Then you might have already got a basic idea about the visa and living requirements such as German health insurance. According to German law, health insurance is compulsory for everyone (both local and international citizens) who lives in Germany. Therefore, you must arrange one before applying for your student visa and entering Germany. As it is easier said than done, that’s why international students ask a lot of questions like:
- Why Is Health Insurance Compulsory for International Students?
- How do I know if I am eligible for private or public health insurance in Germany?
- What is the difference between traveling/incoming and German health insurance?
- What is public and private health insurance and which one is the best for international students in Germany?
- What is the cost of health insurance in Germany for (international) students?
- How to get health insurance in Germany from my home country online?
- And many more…
Don’t worry, in this article, I will tell you exactly what you need to know about student health insurance in Germany. This includes types and different options of health insurance, cost of health insurance in Germany (monthly contribution/fee known as Beitrag), advantages and disadvantages of each option, and how to choose the most suitable health insurance plan for yourself as an international student in Germany. And more, which will benefit you throughout your stay in Germany. Let’s get to it… 😉
Why Health Insurance is Compulsory for International Students?
What if I don’t apply for health insurance in Germany?
Every foreign student living in Germany is required by law to have valid health insurance. Apart from the general insurance law, international students need proof of health insurance mainly for three reasons:
- Enrollment at a German university (Immatrikulationsbüro)
- A student residence permit (study visa) from the Foreigners’ Office (Auslanderbehörde) to stay in Germany
- Healthcare treatment at a house doctor (Hausarzt), a clinic (Arztpraxis), and a private or public hospital (Klinikum/Krankenhaus)
Difference between Travel/Incoming Insurance and Health Insurance
The misconception of Travel/Incoming Insurance and German Health Insurance
It is a common misconception of international students coming to Germany for the first time to think that German health insurance is the same as travel health insurance required at the time of visa application. Travel insurance (also known as incoming health insurance) is only required at the time of initial visa application at the Germany Embassy/Consulate. The minimum duration requirement for the travel insurance is 3 months (90-92 days). This insurance is only for traveling purposes and initial stay. It is not valid for university enrolment and visa extension when arrived in Germany. You must get German health insurance to provide to the university at the time of enrolment. Your regular German health insurance starts from the date of enrolment at the German university.
Types for health insurance in Germany
In Germany, students can choose from the 2 types of health insurance systems:
- Public (Governmental) Health Insurance
- Private Health Insurance
In general, both systems are good but each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Public health insurance is strongly recommended to international students for various reasons but only if you are eligible for it. But wait, before you choose any, it is essential to understand each system and the premiums offered by them, so you can choose smartly as this decision will impact your further decisions down line. In case you might want to change in the future, which is only possible in certain cases. After all, it is a matter of your health and finances, the two of the most important things.
1) Public Health Insurance (GKV)
Public health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung or GKV) also known as statutory health insurance is obtained by almost 90 percent of the German residents (members of the public health insurance system). There are a number of reasons, why most people opt for public health insurance, e.g. cheap prices, accessible to most as compared to private health insurance, provided but not owned by the Government, comprised of non-profit funds that are reinvested back in the German healthcare system. This is why Germany has one of the best health insurance systems in the world.
Cost of Public Health Insurance for International Students
Student age less than 30 years:
The cost of public health insurance is cheaper as compared to private health insurance. The monthly cost, also known as a minimum contribution (Mindestbeitrag) depends on the income of the insured person and a certain amount (14.6% by 2020) has to be paid every month.
But for students, minimum contribution (Mindestbeitrag) does not depend on their monthly or yearly income. Rather students get a discounted price which is a lot cheaper but with very minute variations depends on their age. The monthly cost of public health insurance for both international and German students is the same. Moreover, this contribution covers your long-term care, pension (cut from your gross salary) and nursing care. Students are divided into four categories based on age and whether they have a kid (living in Germany) or not.
|Age of Student||TK||Barmer|
|Age under 23||€ 108.81||€111.07|
|Student between 23 and 30 with a child||€ 108.81||€111.07|
|Students between 23 and 30 without a child||€ 110.69||112,95€|
Cost of public health insurance for students over 30 years:
Students of age over 30 are not eligible for the discounted price anymore and they have to pay the full amount around €180 which approximately doubled the discounted price. If you are already insured with public and you turned 30, at end of the semester during which you turned 30 years, you’ll be given a choice to either be voluntarily insured (freiwillig versichert) with public or switch to a private one.
- If you stay with the public (freiwillig weiterversichert), you will no more receive the discounted price.
- If you switch to private, it could be cheaper but depending on the premium you choose and whether it accepts you or not. In case, you need frequent visits to the doctor, it won’t accept you. Private health insurance does not cover your existing health conditions.
The same rules as stated above apply to students who have reached their 14th semester.
2) Private Health Insurance (PKV)
As compared to the public health issuance holders in Germany, very few (around 10 Percent) German residents have private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung – PKV). It is provided by private German companies, therefore their packages vary depending on the customer’s needs. To get private health insurance,
Cost of Private health insurance for students
In comparison to the public, the cost of private health insurance in Germany is very dynamic and depends on three factors, age, health condition, and the package or coverage you need. It is cheap when you are young and have basic coverage. The cost goes higher with each passing year. The cost also depends on the coverage of insurance, the more the coverage the higher the price. Hence there is no particular cost of private health insurance in Germany, however, it’s cheaper for students as most of them are younger and are healthy enough. They can get private insurance starting from around 33 euros per month. The basic coverage might be cheaper but it will not cover Although it will increase depending on what extra services you opt for and whether your stay is going to be 18 months or longer. Bear in mind that going from private to public health insurance is not that easy.
Eligibility Criteria for Health Insurance in Germany
How do I know if I am eligible for private or public health insurance in Germany?
Though students can either opt for one of the two types, public or private but not every international student is eligible for public health insurance as regulated by German law.
Eligibility criteria for public health insurance:
International students who are coming to pursue regular degree programs e.g. Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. can apply for public health insurance. Some exchange students like Erasmus are eligible too.
For some Ph.D. students it can be a bit little tricky because of the age and employment status.
Eligibility criteria for private health insurance:
International students coming for short courses, language courses, and preparatory courses (Studienkolleg/foundation course), guest researchers and exchange must go get private health insurance. They are only eligible for public health insurance once they are enrollment in a regular course in
In case you fall into the category of private health insurance, we can get you one. Drop us an email at leazear.com/contact-us
Which Health Insurance is the Best – Public or Private
The comparison table below will help you better understand which health insurance is the best for you. Imagine this table as your assistant:
|Public Health insurance||Private health insurance|
|Its cost is based on your income, students get a discounted price||Its cost is based on your health and age|
|It’s not available for everyone||Coverage depends on the package your choose|
|You might not get every treatment in the insurance package therefore you will have to pay more for proper treatment in some cases.||You can tailor your package according to your needs, e.g. choose dental coverage, travel insurance, special treatment, etc. If you choose more options, your insurance will be more expensive.|
|Public health insurance companies have almost similar prices and coverage. However, customer service may differ.||Each provider insurer offers different options, and the best option depends on your situation.|
|The monthly cost remains the same and changes||It becomes expensive over time|
|It also covers your non-working dependents e.g. spouse, children up to the age of 24||Does not cover the insurance of your non-working dependants|
|Covers existing health conditions||Doesn’t cover existing health conditions|
|Best for long term stays||Best for short term stays like a year or two|
|Covers you when you are unemployed|
(not applicable for students as they are not registered as employees even if they do a part-time job)
|It doesn’t cover you when you unemployed|
|You don’t have to pay at the doctor – smooth process||First, you pay at the doctor then you follow the whole process of getting your money back from your insurance provider. Sometimes you don’t get it if the treatment is not covered in your chosen package|
|Dependents as spouse and children (living in Germany) are covered||Dependents are not covered|
|Preparatory, language, and short courses, vocational training, courses, job seekers, guest researchers, and some exchange students are not eligible for public health insurance||They are must get a private health insurance|
|When switched to private from the public, you cannot go back to the public until the end of the study||You must check your package contract but usually, you can switch to another private easily|
|Mandatory basic coverage as regulated by Government||Coverage depends on the package your choose|
How to Get Public Health Insurance in Germany
You can get your health insurance certificate online via Leazear in 3 steps:
1. Compare our partners, 2. Choose your best match, 3. Apply online
The Covid-19 pandemic has made its way to 2021 which has resulted in a mixed situation of the following:
- Visa delays
- Online enrollments
- Semester starting online
- Later arrival in Germany
- Lockdown and health insurance offices are closed
In some countries, the student visas are taking longer and due to Covid-19 German universities are enrolling students online. International students find it difficult to get their health insurance timely due to which many has lost their chance of enrollments in the previous semesters.
Leazear made it possible for international students like yourself to secure your enrolment and start taking classes online. You can get the proof of German health insurance online through via our website in less than 3 days. And submit it to the university enrollment portal before the enrolment deadline. And yes, we have made the comparison of our governmental partners easier for you, so you can decide smartly. You only need to fill the form and upload your admission letter. We take care of the rest.
You don’t pay us anything for the whole service. You’ll monthly payment to the insurance provider will start from the date of arrival if enrolled online from your home country 😮.
At the time of visa application, we can also help you with the travel insurance and blocked bank account, so that you are all set. As a digital startup from Germany, we are here for the student’s help in these difficult times to make your journey to Germany a lot easier.