A Guide To Health Insurance In Germany For International Students

Statistics show that Germany is one of the most popular destinations among international students in the world, and it comes as no surprise. One reason may be that it offers a great variety of international programs which give every student an opportunity to choose whatever area of study they want to focus on. In addition to this, the study programs are designed in such a way that they meet all necessary requirements for the students’ diplomas to be globally recognized.

Therefore, studying abroad in Germany requires doing several things in order to have a pleasant experience and a safe stay in this country. One of these things is obtaining health insurance.

Since 2009, Germany requires all citizens to have health insurance, including foreign students. Having it doesn’t only keep you covered in situations which may call for medical assistance, but it is one of the major requirements for students to be granted a study visa in Germany.

So, in order to get well acquainted regarding this subject matter, keep reading to find out what type of health insurance Germany-wide suits you best according to your student status and how to apply for it.

Types of health insurance in Germany

There are two main types of health insurance in Germany: public and private. The eligibility for either insurance depends on the status of your studies and your age. Here is a brief description of both insurances.

Public health insurance

In order to enroll in a university in Germany, all students who are under 30 years of age and are in degree courses must have public health insurance. The certificate for the adequate insurance can be obtained at the insurance company where the student is covered.

One requirement that won’t allow you to register for public health insurance is if you are insured in your home country and Germany recognizes it through a social security agreement. Also, if you are working as a freelancer or are self-employed, you aren’t eligible for this type of insurance.

There is an exemption from public health insurance in Germany only if you are under 30 years of age and wish to register with a private health insurance company. In this case, you must apply for it within the first three months of your studies at a local public health insurance company.

Private health insurance

The requirements for applying for private health insurance are if you are over 30 years of age and are enrolled in a Preparatory or Language course in Germany. One of the best things about private health insurance in Germany is that it covers the student’s overall duration of their studies. The rates they have to pay are usually cheaper because of their age and health status.  

In general, private health insurance in Germany has many great advantages and it offers individuals the best services and modern treatments. Some advantages include faster appointments with specialists, shorter waiting times and contributions which aren’t based on your income. The latter may actually be considered the most important because not all students will have the opportunity to work while studying, so they don’t have to worry about their income covering the health insurance.

Which students can obtain health insurance in Germany?

Preparatory course students

Preparatory course students aren’t enrolled in any degree programs. Because of that, they cannot register for public health insurance, but they can apply for a private health insurance plan. When they finish their preparatory course, these students are advised to do an exam which allows them to enroll in a degree program of their choice. This exam is called Feststellungsprüfung which determines the eligibility of foreign students to study in Germany.

However, in the meantime, they must have some form of insurance which in most cases is private. So, after receiving a passing grade on the exam, they will be allowed to register for public health insurance as well.

Language students

Another reason why students choose to study in Germany is to learn the German language. Some of the best language schools offer a wide variety of language learning courses and programs which require students to stay for a certain period of time in Germany.

Therefore, during their stay in this country, students must have some form of insurance. Depending on their health status, they are allowed to choose an insurance plan which is tailored to them. The best option is to register with a private health insurance company which will meet all necessary health requirements. Applying for public health insurance is available only if they enroll in a degree program or find a job.

Exchange students

Exchange students usually stay in Germany for one semester or a year. Most of them rely on health insurance provided by their European Health Insurance Card which covers all necessary health services. The thing with exchange students is that they are usually enrolled in a degree program which allows them to register for public health insurance. This way they will be able to make use of the discounted amounts such students receive.

However, there are exchange students who decide to apply for private health insurance instead. They do this because they like the idea of customizing their own insurance plan which will meet all of their necessary health requirements.

Ph.D. students

Ph.D. students are usually over 30 years of age which means they aren’t qualified for public health insurance. In fact, their insurance plan mostly depends on whether they are staff members of the university or not.

The health care of Ph.D. students who work at the university as lecturers or research assistants is covered by the university as its employees and it usually includes a public health insurance plan.

Ph.D. students who don’t work at the university and are under 30 years of age are qualified for a discounted public health insurance plan. However, those who are older can register for the standard public healthcare through their employer.

Final thoughts

If you are looking for a great experience studying abroad, Germany is certainly one of the best options for you. Not only will you be given the opportunity to choose the degree program that you desire, but you won’t need to worry about your safety during your stay. All you need is to do thorough research about what the best health insurance plan for you is according to your status. So, while you are getting all the necessary documents to enroll in a German university, make sure you have a good health insurance plan to cover you during your stay.   


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