General information about health insurance
All students at a German university/institute of higher education are obliged in Germany to hold statutory health and nursing care insurance (Section 5  no. 9 of the German social security code, SGB V). German health insurance is also necessary in order to obtain a residence permit. If the German embassy in your home country requires health insurance for Germany, please only arrange travel insurance for the first one to three months of your stay (depending on your arrival and enrolment dates). You can then arrange German health insurance when you are in Germany and so will not have to pay twice. Citizens of EU member states or other countries with which Germany has appropriate social security agreements do not need to take out any additional health insurance in Germany. Valid proof of existing insurance must be provided to the university at enrolment. If you hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can go directly to the doctor. Doctors' offices are familiar with the procedure. Simply complete a form there (template 80, template 81): declaration of the German insurance company to whom the medical services are chargeable. Students from countries which have social security agreements with Germany are able to obtain a certificate of medical treatment from a German statutory health insurance provider prior to visiting the doctor. Holders of an EHIC and students from countries with these agreements will, however, only be entitled to obtain emergency treatment. Screening check-ups are not covered by the EU health insurance card or social security agreements.
An example of successful cooperation between a private travel insurance provider and a substitute fund is available here.
All students studying at a German university/institute of higher education in Germany are obliged to hold statutory health and nursing care insurance (Section 5  no. 9 of the German social security code, SGB V). For this reason, every foreign student must also become a member of a public (statutory) health insurance fund or a substitute fund or obtain private insurance. Health insurance is mandatory for students up until 30 years of age or the 14th study semester. That number includes study semesters completed in your home country. The member contribution to statutory health insurance funds (including nursing care insurance) currently amounts to around €95 per month for students under 30 years old and up until the 14th study semester. Advantages of statutory health insurance:
- Visit the doctor without any red tape by presenting a health insurance card
- Affordable rate
- Any pre-existing conditions are not relevant
- All statutory and substitute health insurance funds have more or less identical rates, although individual services differ
- Family members without their own income can be co-insured at no additional cost
When you turn 30 years of age or reach the 14th study semester you can take out voluntary insurance with a statutory health insurance fund. There are two levels of contributions. Currently, the contribution for voluntary health insurance is €180 per month. It is possible to compare statutory German health insurance funds on this consumer website (tool available in German only). If you choose to obtain private health insurance at the start of your studies, you need to apply to be released from the obligation to obtain insurance from the public (statutory) fund. This does not apply to private travel insurance. Some private insurance companies offer student rates. It is possible tocompare rates and services here.
For participants in German language and preparatory college classes
For the duration of courses to prepare for studies, participants in German language courses and preparatory college classes are not obliged to hold statutory health and nursing care insurance for students (Section 5  no. 9 of the German social security code, SGB V). Nevertheless it is a requirement to take out health insurance and provide proof at registration and to the immigration authorities. These students can take out voluntary insurance with a statutory health insurance or substitute fund if they hold a residence permit for at least one year and one day. The monthly contribution fees are currently €180. It is also possible to obtain private health insurance. You can compare the services and rates of some insurance companies here. Disadvantages of private health insurance:
- A prior examination of your state of health may be required
- Pre-existing conditions may not be covered
- Some insurance companies require you to pay for treatment in advance and then claim back the costs
- Scope of services under primary health care
- Increases in premiums
- No co-insurance for dependants
If students opt for a low-cost private (travel) insurance policy, they should make sure that the private health insurance provider confirms in writing that they are entitled to use primary health care services to which those insured by the statutory health system are entitled (in accordance with Section 11 [1-3] of the German social security code, SGB V). Otherwise problems may arise with the immigration office in Magdeburg. You can find out from the immigration office or the International Office which private health insurance providers have already confirmed this to the immigration authorities in Magdeburg. Note that low-cost (travel) insurance policies can only be taken out for a maximum of five years. When students start their studies, they must switch to statutory health insurance.