Getting student health insurance (Krankenversicherung der Studenten) should be one of your first priorities if you come to study in Germany. Health insurance is universal, meaning that by law everyone needs to be covered. Moreover, you must have health insurance in order to obtain a residence permit or enrol at your university.
How can students access the German healthcare system?
Foreign students in Germany have three options to access the healthcare system: they can bring a pre-existing foreign policy with them, or they can take out statutory health insurance or private health insurance in Germany. All statutory and private insurance schemes offer special discounted rates for students.
Foreign student health insurance in Germany
The German federal government (Bundesregierung) has made agreements to recognise health insurance plans from the following countries as valid in Germany:
- EU & EEA member states
- North Macedonia
Other foreign policies may also be recognised; you should check with your health insurance provider before you arrive in Germany to make sure.
If your foreign health insurance policy is recognised, you will need to submit a certificate to your university stating that you are exempt from having to take out German health insurance. You can obtain such proof by contacting your local German health insurance provider and requesting a confirmation letter from them. The International Office at your university can help you with this if you are unsure.
If your health insurance is not recognised in Germany, you will need to take out either statutory or private health insurance.
Student statutory health insurance
Statutory health insurance providers in Germany are obliged to offer affordable tariffs to students up to the age of 30. The premiums for students are usually around 110 euros per month.
The following companies offer statutory health insurance for students in Germany:
- BARMER (registration and onboarding in English)
- TK (Techniker Krankenkasse) (with customer service in English, provided by Feather)
- SBK (Siemens-Betriebskrankenkasse) (with end-to-end English consulting)
Statutory health insurance covers all medical costs, including visits to your doctor, treatment in hospital, dental care, prescriptions and medications. You will be expected to pay small contributions towards the cost of the healthcare you receive. You can also choose optional extras for more comprehensive coverage, in exchange for higher premiums. For more information on what is included, visit our Statutory health insurance page.
Student private health insurance
Private insurance is available to those who are above the age of 30. In exceptional circumstances, it is sometimes available to others (for instance, if you are not accepted by a statutory insurance scheme). Legally, the coverage provided must be at the very least equivalent to that offered by statutory insurance. You also have the option to purchase extras and control your voluntary excess; EDUCARE 24, for instance, provides coverage that includes travel health insurance and personal liability insurance.
The premiums are usually around 200 euros a month but some companies provide cover for a lot less like Ottonova.
Our Private health insurance page contains more information on taking out private health insurance in Germany.
How to take out student health insurance
Once you have determined the type of health insurance you need to take out, it is best to compare insurance providers using a website like Tarifcheck to see which offers the best cover.
When you have chosen your provider, taking out insurance is usually as easy as filling out a quick form on their website with your personal details. You might also need some of the following:
- Valid ID, such as a passport (not a driving licence)
- Certificate of registration
- IBAN for your German bank account
- Recent passport photo
You will usually have to print out the forms, sign them and send them in the post to the insurance provider. You will receive a certificate of insurance within a few weeks, which can be taken to your university as proof of coverage, to enable you to enrol. If you have taken out private health insurance, you may have to submit to a medical examination.
Health insurance card
Once you have taken out German health insurance, you will be issued with a health insurance card. It is important to present this card to your doctor, hospital, dentist or pharmacy so that they know you are covered by insurance and you do not have to pay upfront.