Health Insurance during your Studies

All students under the age of 30 who are registered at a German university are obliged to be insured (this includes health as well as nursing care insurance). This means that you can only enrol with your university when you show proof of insurance!

A travel health insurance is not sufficient for studying in Germany!

Important: Health Insurance is compulsory

According to § 5 Abs. 1 Nr. 9 SGB V, students who are enrolled at state or state-recognized universities in the Federal Republic of Germany are subject to obligatory statutory health insurance.

This also applies to students enrolled in Germany who have their place of residence or habitual abode abroad, if there is no entitlement to insurance benefits due to international law.

Insurance is compulsory until the end of the 14th semester, at the latest until the end of the semester in which you turn 30. Beyond this point in time, the insurance obligation continues if

  • the type of training,
  • family reasons,
  • personal reasons,

in particular, the acquisition of the entry requirement to a training facility of the second educational path, justify exceeding the age limit or a longer period of study.

Students who work for remuneration in addition to their studies remain subject to compulsory student insurance if they appear to be a student, i.e. if their time and manpower are mainly used for their studies. On the other hand, if you are an employee due to the extent of your employment, you are not required to be insured as a student, but as an employee.

NEW: The Digital Health Insurance Registration

No enrollment without a digital insurance registration

Before enrolling, each applicant must contact the responsible health insurance company in order to initiate a digital insurance registration, a so-called M10. The health insurance company then reports digitally to the university that

  • he*she is insured or
  • he*she is exempt from insurance, exempted from compulsory insurance or not subject to compulsory insurance.

As part of the enrollment, all you have to do is enter your insurance status and, if you are required to have insurance, the personal health insurance number and the company number of the health insurance.

Which health insurance company is responsible for the digital insurance registration?

Applicants must apply for the digital insurance notification required for enrollment at the health insurance company with which they are insured as a member or family member at the start of their studies or at the insurance company, they are likely to be insured with. The health insurance company then automatically forwards this notification to the university.

Applicants who want to be exempted from compulsory insurance must also apply for a corresponding digital registration (insurance-free or exempt) from a statutory health insurance company.

The company number of Goethe University is H0001406.

Is my home country’s statutory health insurance sufficient?

Students from non-EU countries:

Is there a social security treaty between Germany and your home country? In this case, your insurance can be formally recognised in Germany. You will have to check with a German health insurance on whether the coverage is sufficient. Please ask your insurance in your home country in advance for proof of insurance to bring to Germany.

Tip: In any case, before you come here, check what treatment you are entitled to in Germany. If not all of the usual costs are covered, you should consider to get a health insurance by a German provider (see below).

Students from EU countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland (EU and EEA):

In principle, students from these countries are covered by their home country insurance – but coverage must formally be recognised by a German health insurance. The same conditions and costs apply as for Germans with statutory health insurance. Those might be different to your home country.

You will need an EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) from your home country. You have to show this upon registering at the university. The EHIC card is issued by the statutory health insurances. Please find more information on the EHIC card here:

You can also apply for a “Leistungsaushilfe" (mutual benefits assistance scheme) with a German statutory health insurance. You will then receive a German health insurance card.

Tip: Enquire with your insurance back home, to cover possible questions, before you come to Germany.

Important: Students from EU and EEA countries, who have a side job in Germany, must have a German health insurance. (This applies even if you just earn 1,- EUR/month)

Health Insurance in Germany

There are two types of health insurance in Germany:

Statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV)

In general statutory health insurance is available at a lower price for students in Germany than private health insurance. Students pay about 100 EUR/month for health insurance (incl. nursing care insurance). As a rule, this amount applies at the latest until the semester when you turn 30 years old. 
>> Check out a comparative overview

You will receive an insurance card which you have to show at every visit to the doctor.

For taking out health insurance, you will need:

  • Passport or ID
  • A certificate of registration from your place of residence (not necessarily needed)
  • Proof of your preliminary registration with the university
  • A German bank account or an IBAN number
  • A passport photo (important!)

Some statutory insurers allow students who turn 30 during their studies in Germany to continue their insurance at a higher fee. In exceptional cases, the cheaper tariff may still be available. You can get detailed information from the individual insurance company.

Students who are older than 30 when they begin their studies must get private health insurance. If you are privately insured when you begin your studies, you have 3 months to change to a statutory insurance. This applies retrospectively to the official beginning of the semester.

Family insurance (possible only if your parents are or your spouse is insured with a statutory insurer in Germany): Up to the age of 25, students can join their parents’ statutory health insurance at no cost, if the student’s regular total income per month does not exceed 455 EUR (2020 figures) or, in the case of a mini job, 450 EUR. If you are in a family insurance with your spouse, there is no age limit.

Private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung, PKV)

Until you turn 30 you can only get private health insurance in exceptional cases. You have to apply for an exemption from statutory health insurance with one of the statutory insurers (e.g. AOK, DAK, BEK, TK etc).

If you are privately insured, you usually pay the doctor's visits, treatment and medication yourself and then send the bill to the insurer for reimbursement. The scope of service offered by a private insurer must be at least equivalent to that of a statutory insurer for duration of the time you are obliged to be insured (Vollversicherung).

Note: If you are privately insured and want to switch to statutory health insurance, you must submit the application to a statutory health insurance within 3 months of the start of your studies! After this three months period, it is usually no longer possible to switch to a statutory health insurance provider. If you choose a private health insurance, you can switch to a statutory insurer during your studies only in exceptional cases!

Private health insurance in your home country (not travel insurance!): You can find out whether this is recognised in Germany. If that is the case, you need a confirmation that you are exempt from the obligation to get statutory insurance in order to register with the university. Please note that a travel insurance is not considered equal to a private health insurance! Furthermore limited private health insurance will generally not be considered sufficient for studying in Germany.

Once you are no longer obliged to be insured as a student you may be able to take advantage of special tariffs offered by private insurers, which may be cheaper than a statutory health insurance but cover only the absolutely necessary treatment whenever you have to go to hospital or have an operation, when you have a toothache etc.

Please note: If you want to take out health insurance in Germany, whether statutory or private, this is generally only possible once you have an address in Germany and a German bank account. Most students take out an insurance for their time of studies shortly after they arrive in Germany.

Special Cases

Health insurance while you are preparing for your studies or are attending the Studienkolleg (preparatory college)

If you attend a language course in order to prepare for your studies, you cannot get statutory health insurance, as you are not obliged to get health insurance.

You can only get a private health insurance; the scope of services does not need to reach the same level as that of a statutory health insurance. It is possible to take out the insurance for a limited time (which is normally not possible for students), in which case the health insurance must cover a minimum amount of 30,000 EUR.

Exception: If you have a sideline job you may have to take out statutory health insurance. Ask your employer about this.

If you only attend the Studienkolleg (preparatory college) or a language course, you must take out a full or partial private health insurance. Once you have finished the language course, if you are younger than 30 years, you can switch to statutory health insurance for the duration of your studies.

Attendees of the Studienkolleg Frankfurt must be privately insured.

Insurance and jobs during your studies

In general, students can take on a mini job with a regular income of no more than 450 EUR per month. They are allowed to have a higher-earning job for a short period of time (maximum 3 months or 70 working days, respectively), or for longer during the semester break. If you earn more than 450 EUR/month in general you will have to pay social security contributions.

You will continue to be insured as a student if, during the lecture period, you work no more than 20 hours per week. If you work more than 20 hours per week, you will have to be insured as an employee with higher tariffs.

In the lecture free periods and as a student trainee you are, as a rule, allowed to work more than 20 hours per week.

For detailed information please ask your employer or health insurance provider.

Health insurance during internships

During a mandatory internship related to your studies, you continue your health insurance as a student. If you do a voluntary internship, the same rules apply as when you take a job (see special 2). However, if you regularly work more than 20 hours per week during your internship and this goes on uninterrupted for more than three months, you are considered an employee and have to pay full premiums for the statutory health insurance. When in doubt, check with your insurer.

Internships before and after your studies are considered vocational training and are not covered by student health insurance. In the case of an unpaid internships, interns have to take out their own health insurance.

Health insurance during doctoral studies

In general, international doctoral students in Germany can only take out private health insurance.

However: If, prior to your doctoral studies, you had statutory health insurance in Germany or a EU member state, it is generally possible to continue your statutory health insurance during your doctorate studies – you can choose between statutory and private health insurance.

If, prior to your doctoral studies, you have never been insured in Germany or the EU, you may only take out a private health insurance, provided that you do not have a job that pays more than 450 EUR/month – otherwise you must be insured as an employee. In that case, it is not necessary to get an exemption from the duty to get statutory health insurance.

If you have a scholarship for your doctoral studies, whether from a German or a foreign scholarship provider, and you have a residence permit for 12 months, you have to pay health and nursing care insurance premiums with your scholarship money. The premiums depend on the amount of your scholarship. If your scholarship is exempt from income tax pursuant to § 3 of the German Income Tax Act, you are married, and your spouse has statutory health insurance cover, it is usually possible to get family insurance (at no cost for the doctoral student).

Insured by the University and the Studentenwerk

Students registered at the university can get a number of insurances through the university or rather, the Studentenwerk (student services). As a rule, these provide insurance cover for activities undertaken in the course of your studies, in particular if something happens to you on campus but possibly also if it happens on your way to the university.

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