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Health insurance protection for foreign students in Germany

Health insurance protection for foreign students in Germany

To study in Germany, you will need health insurance protection for foreign students in Germany. Find out more of what you can expect

Health insurance protection for foreign students in Germany: If you want to study in Germany as a foreign student, you must provide proof of health insurance when you enroll. According to § 5 Paragraph 1 No. 9 SGB V (fifth book of the Social Security Code), students are compulsorily insured in the statutory health insurance system until they have completed their 14th semester or until they have reached the age of 30. What exceptions there are to compulsory insurance and what regulations apply inside and outside the EU and the EEC – read more! 

It depends on the health insurance coverage in the country of origin

Health insurance is one of the most important types of insurance, which applies equally to foreign students studying in Germany. Health insurance coverage varies by country, so there is no one-size-fits-all policy. Therefore, two fundamental questions arise, namely: Does the foreign student have statutory or private insurance cover in his home country? The question of the country of origin is also important because it is crucial whether it is a country inside or outside the European Union or whether there is an agreement with the country of origin that regulates health insurance cover. 

Recognition of foreign health insurance in Germany

1. Students from countries with social security agreements

Bilateral social security agreements have been concluded with some countries. These so-called SV agreements exist with the member states of the European Union and the European Economic Area, among others. This means that students who have health insurance in their home country can have this insurance coverage recognized in Germany. Students from countries of the European Union receive an international insurance card in their home country, the so-called European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is also recognized in Germany for medical treatment. However, it is possible that the foreign health insurance company will not pay for all costs incurred in Germany. It is therefore important for students to follow up which services are actually covered within the framework of the EHIC in Germany and which are not. Conversely, it may be the case that health insurance pays for benefits in your home country that are not covered by public health insurance in Germany. However, health insurance companies with limited benefits are not recognized in Germany. Anyone who does not have health insurance cover in their home country must take out statutory health insurance in Germany, provided the requirements are met. 

2. What is important when recognizing private health insurance?

Private health insurance from the students’ countries can also be recognised. However, it is also important here to inquire beforehand whether and which services you will actually pay for during a stay in Germany and whether these are recognized as proof. Then the foreign student is exempt from the health insurance obligation in Germany, so that enrollment at a German university is possible. The exemption applies for the duration of the entire course. This also means that it is no longer possible to switch to one of the statutory health insurance companies during your studies. 

3. Which health insurance company is responsible for issuing the insurance certificate?

Foreign students who have an international insurance card, the so-called European Health Insurance Card, register with a statutory health insurance company. There you will receive written proof that confirms your membership in health insurance, which is a prerequisite for enrollment at a German university. Compulsorily insured students receive the necessary insurance certificate from the health insurance company with which they are currently or will be insured as a member or as part of family insurance. Students who are exempt from compulsory insurance or wish to be exempt receive the certificate from the health insurance company that issues the exemption. It is important to know.

Exceptions to compulsory insurance in statutory health insurance

There are certain groups of people who are exempt from compulsory health insurance, namely these:

  • Scholarship holders, guest researchers and postdocs who do not have an employment contract
  • Participants in preparatory colleges and German language courses
  • Students who are over the age of 30 or have passed the 14th semester

These groups of people do not have the opportunity to insure themselves with a statutory health insurance company. Because of the limited residence permit, they regularly have no access to private health insurance. The private insurance industry has developed special tariffs for these groups of people. 

Travel health insurance as a special tariff for foreign groups of people without statutory insurance cover

These low-priced special tariffs for foreign groups of people without statutory insurance cover include travel health insurance for foreign guests, which can be taken out for a period of up to five years. Travel health insurance includes the necessary coverage for acute illnesses that require treatment by a doctor or hospital. The insurance cover also includes benefits for pregnancy and childbirth, with a regular waiting period of eight months. The insurance does not cover the treatment of existing illnesses or pre-existing conditions and check-ups. Since an extension of the insurance cover can be rejected by the respective insurance company, travel health insurance should be taken out for the entire possible duration. Some providers also reserve the right to further exclusions in the event of an extension.


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