The German Health Care System - An overview about Health Insurances
If you wish to study in Germany you need health insurance. Without the insurance you will not be able to apply for student or language visa from your home country or be enrolled at the German university. You are obliged to insure yourself until you are 30 years old, or until your 14th study term. At worst case, if you do not have insurance you could be barred from studying.
Types of Health Insurances in Germany
(a) State health insurance is run by German government. Most foreigners (and Germans as well) are obliged to take out state health insurance.
(b) Private health insurance can be chosen in some specific cases. It generally offers more extensive cover, but is not automatically an advantage for all cases.
Students enrolled at state-approved universities MUST apply for the Statutory health insurance. However, for visa applications from home country and preparation for the studies, the students are entitled to apply for the private health insurance. Students are offered special student insurance schemes with favourable rates.
Who is entitled to apply for the Private health insurance?
a. Students who are applying for studies in Germany from their home country: If you are applying for studies in your home country, then you need to apply for the private health insurance. This is one of the requirements so that you can be able to acquire the visa. Once you arrive in Germany and after registering at the University, then you are entitled to apply for the public health insurance.
b. Students currently enrolled at the university and are over 30 years or have been studying for more than 14 semesters: These category of students can continue to maintain their public health insurance but the premiums are double. Most of them prefer to change to the private health insurances.
c. Students attending the preparatory course (studienkolleg)
d. Students attending German language courses in preparation for studies
e. Au-pair and FSJ
Payment of medicines and treatments: If you're insured through the state system, you only pay a nominal fee for treatments and medicines as these are directly paid for by your insurance company. If privately insured, you pay doctor's fees and medicine costs and send receipts to your insurance company for reimbursement. Although this makes no difference in the long run, it might be important if you're short on cash.
Recognition of Foreign Health Insurances
Overview of Public Health Insurances and the Premium Rates for Students
First Aid - An Illustrated Health Dictionary
Keen to know more about the health insurances in Germany? The Studentenwerk has compiled an illustrated Health Dictionary Information for Foreign students in Germany.
www.studentenwerke.de (PDF 1,75 MB)
Source: German Embassy in Kenya and the Deutsches Studentenwerk