Insure Your Journey: A Student's Roadmap to Health Insurance in Germany


So, you’re prepared to start your student journey, but you’ve realized that you need to apply for health insurance. If you found yourself not knowing quite where to start, we are here to help you! If you’ve never even applied for health insurance, before we will help clarify how the whole process works, which options you have and what you can expect from your healthcare provider. Pretty soon you will be a health insurance pro and you will be all set to head off to your first doctor’s visit as a student in Germany!

Let’s Get Down to the Basics

There are a few very important things to know before you apply for health insurance. As a guide, here are some of the top things to keep in mind:

  1. Health insurance in Germany is that it is mandatory for all residents and citizens in Germany. This mandate ensures that all have access to healthcare services in Germany.
  2. There are two types of health insurance that you can obtain in Germany: private and public (more on that later)
  3. Proof of health insurance is a critical step to obtaining a visa or residence permit in Germany. 

Public or Private?

The choice between public and private comes down to several different factors. First off, all students under the age of 30 are eligible for the public insurance and international students should opt into it. Private insurance is a preferred option for students over 30, those who have eligible health insurance from their home countries and students enrolled in PhD programs and non-regular degree programs.

It’s important to remember (especially for students from Germany), while you do have the option to switch to private insurance from public insurance after one year, it is typically not possible to switch from private insurance to public insurance. Please keep this in mind when selecting your plan, so that you know how much flexibility you have in determining your healthcare plan.

Non-EU students younger than 30 have to be insured with a public insurance company in Germany. 

Let’s talk about costs!

Another factor to consider when enrolling in a health insurance scheme is the cost. The public insurance is a cost-saving choice as the contributions of the public insurance company are stipulated. Generally, the monthly contribution for students for all public health insurance companies is currently ca. € 120.

The rate of a private insurance is based on your risk profile (not on your income). The benefits of private health insurance companies may vary considerably.


Using health insurance from your home country

It is also possible to keep the health insurance plan from your country as an international student. This is possible for students from EU countries (as long as you have a European Health Insurance Card), as well as selected countries outside of the EU (e.g. Bosnia and Herzegovina, , Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Turkey).

It is important to note that if you are planning to work or complete an internship, you will need to be insured with German health insurance, regardless of whether you are allowed to have heath insurance from your own country.

What your health insurance plan covers

As mentioned earlier, the exact coverage depends on the type of plan you have, but a basic health insurance plan will typically cover at least these services:

  • Medical treatment and hospitalization (Including surgery and necessary medical procedures)
  • Most of the cost of prescription medication (as the patient you are expected to cover 10% of the cost).
  • Preventative care and emergency services
  • Partial dental and vision care services – basic dental care and some vision care is provided.
  • Mental health services, such as counseling
  • Physical therapy

Ready to apply for health insurance? Here is what you need to do:

After you have determined your eligibility based on your age, nationality, and student status, it is time to choose a provider. AOK, Techniker Krankenkasse and DAK-Gesundheit are just a few of the options available for public insurance.

Once you’ve found your provider, you will need to apply directly through the provider and once your application is approved, you will receive a certificate that proves that you are ensured in Germany. Hey, that was easy! Now, you can use this certificate to apply for visas or, residence permits. Just remember, that for your enrollment at KLU your need to ask your insurance provider to transmit your status electronically via this sender number: H0002523. Now you are covered and ready to go.

And there you have it; you are ready to get yourself insured! Navigating bureaucracy doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. Your health insurance providers are there to help you and will offer you the flexibility to apply from your country or in some cases, they will even offer customer support English in case you are not able to communicate with them in German. Happy health insurance hunting!  

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