Health Insurance for Scientists, PhDs, Scholarship holders and Researchers in GermanyGermany attracts and welcomes thousands of guest scientists and researchers every year, further proving that it is a nation known globally for its academic excellence and innovation. In addition, each individual visiting Germany for whatever purpose is required by law to have health insurance, and guest scientists and researchers are not exempt from this requirement.

We have written down in detail everything you need to know about health insurance if you’re a guest scientist or researcher visiting Germany for academic purposes.

Do I Need Health Insurance as a Guest Scientist/Researcher in Germany?

Guest scientists and researchers belong to the category of visitors who are required to have travel health insurance to enter Germany. Even if you will be staying in Germany for a very short period of time, health insurance is an essential asset that allows you to get medical treatment without being required to pay high medical bills in a foreign country.

Guest scientists and researchers may also be covered through international health insurance from their home country, however, you should be careful and check with your medical insurance provider with regards to any question you might have since Germany pays close attention to health insurance and its policies.

German universities will accept your proof of health insurance only if the extent of coverage is equivalent to the coverage provided by German statutory health insurance.

Should I Get Public or Private Health Insurance?

If you’re a guest scientist or researcher, you’re only eligible for private health insurance in Germany. This means you will have to register with a private provider and use their services for as long as you plan to stay in Germany. Apart from degree students, the majority of other categories visiting Germany are required to register with private providers.

The following categories are exempt from public health insurance in Germany:

  • Guest scientists and researchers
  • Postgraduate students
  • Scholarship holders
  • Language course students
  • Preparatory course students
  • Students over 30 years of age

If you’re not sure which German private health insurance company to choose, we recommend having a look at EDUCARE24.

EDUCARE24 is a health insurance plan developed by the German company DR-WALTER.
Since 1959, DR-WALTER has been a trusted partner for international students, language students, guest scientists, PhDs, travellers and au-pairs in Germany.

EDUCARE24 is recognized by all German universities, as well as immigration authorities as sufficient health insurance coverage for the temporary residence permit in Germany.

Can I Use Health Insurance From My Home Country?

It is possible for you to use health insurance coverage from your home country but only in particular cases. Germany has social insurance agreements with some countries, such as the member states of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Meaning, if you come from any of the countries belonging to the EU or EEA, you will be allowed to use health insurance from your home country since it will be valid in Germany as well.

In addition, if you plan to stay for longer periods of time, you must register with a private health insurance company, such as DR-WALTER, customized for guest scientists and PhDs in Germany.

Health Insurance Coverage for Guest Scientist and Researchers

The basic coverage of every private health insurance provider offers are:

  • In-patient hospital services
  • Out-patient hospital services
  • Basic dental care
  • Medications
  • Ambulant transport

In addition, registering with private health insurance providers means you will also have access to numerous other benefits depending on the health insurance policy you choose. EDUCARE24, for example, offers four types of health insurance policies, S (Small), M (Medium), L (Large) and XL (Extra Large), which offer different sets of benefits, with EDUCARE24 S only being limited to health insurance.

Moreover, those wishing to have the benefits of statutory health insurance but can’t do so may purchase EDUCARE24 XL, which offers benefits within the framework of statutory health insurance programs, with a value of €500 per insurance year. Such benefits include preventive medical examinations under statutory schemes, health check-ups and pediatric examinations under statutory schemes as well as vaccinations and dental prophylaxis.

Another benefit of being registered with a private health insurance provider is that the communication will often be made easier since there are many registered doctors who can communicate in English in case the patient can’t speak German.

Note: Guest scientists and researchers should always check if private health insurance providers offer pregnancy coverage. When it comes to public health insurance, pregnancy costs are covered; however, this might not be the case if you register with a private health insurance company.

It is always essential to read the contract before signing with any private health insurance provider. Take note of their services and compare so there won’t be any misunderstandings in the future.

Will my family also need health insurance if they join me?

Well, yes. If your family wants to join you in Germany, they will also need to be registered with a private health insurance provider. Since the law does not allow anyone to reside in Germany without being properly insured in healthcare; your dependant will also need to get insurance.

Health Insurance Cost for Guest Scientists and Researchers in Germany

The cost of health insurance for guest scientists and researchers in Germany can vary. Since this category of visitors has to get private health insurance instead of public health insurance, they will not be eligible for the discounted amount that degree students are offered. However, private health insurance companies offer different prices and different coverage.

In addition, the monthly amount you are supposed to pay depends on the following:

  • The provider you choose to take insurance with
  • The level of coverage you decide to purchase

The cost of private health insurance for researchers and PhDs in Germany also depends on age, meaning a person aged under 39 will pay significantly less than those aged over 39. More specifically prices can range from as little as 33,00 € and up to 54,00 € monthly, with low-cost private health insurance companies like DR-WALTER.

Depending on what kind of medical services you take, there are two ways your invoices can be refunded:

  • Direct billing with doctors/hospitals
  • Invoice refund

In order to receive direct billing, you will be required to submit your medical card information to the doctor or hospital before you get treatment. The invoice will be transferred directly to the doctor or hospital’s account after the invoice is sent to the health insurance company you are registered with.

Alternatively, if the doctor does not want to settle the bill directly, you should send the invoice as well as a completed claim form to your insurance provider so the money will be reimbursed to your account.

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