In this section you will find information about different insurance schemes in Germany. Read more about health care
For long-term stays (longer than three months) health insurance is mandatory for all researchers and their family members accompanying them. The insurance must cover all costs for medical treatment in the event of serious illness and accidents in Germany.
Please note that proof of sufficient health insurance coverage is necessary when applying for a visa and a residence permit.
Health insurance coverage needs to be valid for you and for all family members from the very first day in Germany. Preparing for your stay, check first whether your insurance at home covers medical and hospital expenses incurred during your stay in Germany. The insurance company must confirm in writing that insurance coverage is valid in Germany. Usually, this is only the case if a Social Security Agreement ("Sozialversicherungsabkommen") between Germany and your home country has been concluded (information can be obtained from the authorities and health insurance companies in your own country). When not covered by your home insurance, you must take out health insurance in Germany.
In general illnesses incurred in advance are not covered by insurance in Germany and patients have to pay the expenses themselves. Preparing for your stay in Germany make sure to take all necessary medication with you. Especially private health insurance companies would not normally cover pregnancy commencing during a research stay. To have these expenses reimbursed by the insurance provider in Germany, the relevant benefits must be laid down in advance in a supplementary contract. Furthermore, health insurance companies will not necessarily refund costs for medical check-ups.
It is mandatory to have health insurance (Krankenversicherung) in Germany, either within the statutory (public) system or with a private insurance company.
The major difference between the two systems is that if you are insured by the public health system you will not be billed for a visit to the doctor, hospital, or for routine dental treatment. For certain medical treatments (massages, physiotherapy, some dental treatments, and for medication) you have to pay 10% or a part of the costs. Within the private insurance system, you will have to pay up front for all medical services and request reimbursement (Rückerstattung) from your insurance provider. In both cases, your insurance company will issue you a health insurance card, which you have to take with you whenever you see a doctor or go into hospital. In addition to health coverage, the health insurance providers take care of registration for unemployment and pension insurance.
You must make sure to have health insurance for all family members. The statutory (public) health insurance premium covers you and all your non-working dependents, whereas the private medical insurance premium is generally paid for each person individually. For families, it is advisable to take out statutory (public) health insurance. If you are covered through a German statutory (public) health insurance company and your partner does not generate an income above 360 € per month, he/she can also be covered by your health insurance policy. If his/her income is above 360 € per month he/she will have to take out health insurance himself/herself. Children are generally covered by the health insurance of one of the parents.
In Germany the statutory health insurance system is administered by various insurance companies. All basic medical treatments are covered. 95% of the benefits offered by public health insurance providers are the same, the remaining 5% are additional benefits such as medical check-ups, etc.The rate for statutory (public) health insurance is 15.5% of the monthly income (eg.scholarship). Additionally, another 2.2% must be paid for Compulsory Long Term Care Insurance (gesetzliche Pflegeversicherung).
Usually, private health insurance offers a wider range of benefits than the statutory (public) health insurance. Depending on the rate chosen, they may offer the option such as private hospitals, alternative therapies like acupuncture and herbal treatments, eye glasses, and contact lenses.
The rate is based on your risk profile, not on your income. Older people or women generally pay higher rates than young men. Both the premium charged and the benefits provided by private health insurance companies may vary considerably, so that what initially appears to be the cheaper option is not always the best choice.
Some private insurance companies offer special insurance packages for international researchers combining health insurance together with travel and liability insurance.
In addition to the health insurance, which is mandatory, we recommend a private liability insurance. In case you damage something which you do not own (e.g. you cause an accident as a pedestrian or riding a bike), you will normally be obliged to bear the damage. Depending on the incident, this may easily amount to some thousand Euros. The liability insurance will cover all kinds of damages – provided that they were not caused on purpose. All major insurance companies offer this insurance. The fee ranges between € 40 and € 90 a year, depending on the coverage type and the insurance company.
The Researcher's Mobility Portal Germany (Euraxess) has more information on insurance here.