Traveling or moving to Germany as an Expat? Learn more about German health care system and how the right health insurance can help you pursue your dreams in Germany.

The German health care system specifies that every person in Germany is required to have a health insurance. Even those who will stay in Germany for a short time must be health insured, otherwise requests for visas will not be granted.

There are different types of health insurance that you should get before travelling to Germany and a few others that you can get after you arrive in Germany, all explained in much detail below:

Travel insurance for foreign visitors/tourists in Germany

The right travel insurance for Germany (Schengen) visa application

Whether you’re planning to go sightseeing, visit relatives, attend a business conference, or backpack through Europe, you might need to first check what you need in order to enter the country you are visiting. Before planning your exploratory trip to Germany or Europe, the first step you need to take is check whether you need a Schengen Visa. If you do, then you have to follow every tip and direction to file the necessary documents and obtain it.

The Schengen visa will allow you to visit Europe for what is defined as a “short stay”. This means that you can go to 26 European countries for up to 90 days. This is enough for anyone who wants to explore or is on a business or touristic trip. However, one of the requirements to obtain the Schengen Visa is to have proper health insurance in Germany. The travel insurance for Germany will most certainly not get you immediately rejected from getting the Schengen Visa if you are planning to visit the country.

The German embassy or consulate in your country specify that medical insurance is compulsory for all foreigners visiting the country and also requires your health insurance provides minimum coverage of €30,000 for medical treatment.

The travel insurance for Germany will most certainly cover any and all medical emergencies or accidents that you might have and getting it is easy and affordable.

If you need a travel insurance for the purpose of getting a Schengen visa, PROVISIT VISUM by DR-WALTER is the perfect choice for you. This insurance is designed for tourists and business travelers. In case your visa has been refused, you can cancel it for free of charge.

Health insurance for international students in Germany

If you have finally fulfilled your dream of studying in Germany as an international student, one of the requirements is getting a student health insurance.

The health insurance for foreign students in Germany will get you the final permission and clearance from the university of your choice to start your studies there and will cover all your medical expenses. You can focus on your studies and not worry whether you will get sick the next flu season since you won’t have to pay for your medical bills.

There are two possible health insurance plans for international students in Germany:

Most of foreign students in Germany are required to hold statutory (public) health insurance. Exceptions from the statutory health insurance requirement include:

  • guest scientists,
  • post-graduate students,
  • scholarship holders (without an employment contract),
  • college students,
  • participants in language courses,
  • students age 30 or above, and
  • those who have been studying in Germany for more than 14 semesters.

If you fall into one of these categories, then you need to take a private health insurance.

With so many international students in Germany, student health insurance companies can be found everywhere. It is also possible to use the health insurance from your home country, if available. If you are from a country in the European Union, you will need your European medical insurance card and through that your insurance will be recognized by institutions in Germany too. However, if you choose to obtain health insurance from a company in Germany, you should be careful and read the fine print in their contracts and protect yourself from being trapped into an expensive and low quality insurance.

There are great German health insurance companies targeting students and meeting their needs. German insurance companies such as DR-WALTER have been in the industry for many years and are preferred by foreign students. Not only are they affordable, but their tailored student packages such as the Tariff EDUCARE24 are favorites amongst international students in Germany.

Without proof of health insurance (public or private), enrollment at a German university is not possible.

Health insurance for language course/preparatory course students

If you are only planning to study or work in Germany, so you have enrolled in a preparatory language course, you will not be allowed to attend it without being equipped with a medical insurance plan.

In this case statutory or public health insurance is not allowed, so you will be required to obtain a private health insurance in Germany such as this one here!

This type of medical insurance will guarantee that you will be covered for the entire duration of your preparatory or language courses and will not have to worry about feeling unhealthy. This type of insurance is relatively inexpensive with a basic monthly plan of only 33 euros/month.

Health insurance for Freelancers, Employees and Expatriates in Germany

Germany is not only a great place to visit or study in, it is also a place with world-class working conditions and offers great benefits to people working there. If you have found a job and will be moving to Germany, then a working insurance is necessary. If you have not found a job yet, you can get the Blue Card which is similar to the U.S Green Card and be allowed to stay in Germany until you find a job. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to obtain working health insurance, which will cover you for up to 5 year and offer full coverage for any emergencies and accidents. This health insurance plan is heavily advised for expatriates.

If you are an expat in Gemrany, then a working insurance must be purchased before you make any other commitments in Germany. If you are looking for great coverage for a good price, then your working health insurance awaits here!

Helpful tips: Working in Germany: Getting a German Work Permit

What does a health insurance cover?

Depending on your needs and status, you will get different coverage with different fees. Most of the health insurance types discussed in this article will get you at least the following benefits:

  • Hospital treatment and emergency services
  • Medical treatment such as outpatient or dental treatment
  • Walking aids of wheelchairs
  • Transportation to the nearest hospital
  • Burial or transfer expenses
  • Coverage of theft or lost personal belongings and property
  • Expenses in case of rescuing after accidents. (Coverage depends very much on the insurance company. It is suggested to check out local testing sites, e.g. Private Krankenversicherung im Test ( Use Google Translate for local translation.)

The German Healthcare System

The German Healthcare System

The German healthcare system, which is the oldest in Europe dating back to the 19th century, obliges everyone living and working in Germany, even those coming for a short stay, to obtain health insurance.

Health insurance in Germany is characterized by a dual system:

  • statutory (public) health insurance which is often called “sickness funds”, and
  • private health insurance

All citizens and residents in Germany have the right and are entitled to obtain statutory health insurance, however they are free to obtain private health insurance if they choose to, with the sole condition of fulfilling a few criteria first.

Those who have an income higher than 850 euros and lower than 4,462.50 euros are obliged to obtain public health insurance. They will have to pay their contributions depending on their income. As of 2018, the uniform contribution rate is 14.6% of the income of a resident, half of which is paid by the employer and the other half by the employee. Non-working dependents living at the same address and registered with the Krankenkasse are covered at no extra cost.

On the other hand, one can obtain private health insurance if their gross income is above the income threshold, which is 4.950 euros as per 2018.

Public / Private Health Insurance benefits & fees

With health insurance, you will be able to have access to all public health institutions, for both – check-ups and medical treatment. However, those with statutory insurance will receive the benefits they need, while those with private will receive benefits according to what is in their contract. Public medical insurance does not cover you consultations with private doctors, dental implants, glasses or contact lenses for adults, private rooms in hospitals etc, but if private insurance may.

Whereas, when it comes to paying fees, if you have state health insurance, the institution where you received medical treatment or check-up, will send the bill directly to your health insurer. Meanwhile, if you have a private insurance, then you will have to send the bill to your insurer in your own.

Foreigners getting a public/statutory health insurance in Germany

Even foreigners living long-term or working in Germany are entitled to obtaining public health insurance. There is a process you must follow, in order to be able to get the insurance. Firstly you must register with the German authorities at your local town hall, which in German is called Einwohnermeldeamt.  After you have a social number and once you start making national insurance contributions, then you can have access to public health institutions just as every German citizen. To complete the process, you shall register with an insurance fund, which will issue you a card. You should have that card with you each time you visit a doctor.

EHIC -European Health Insurance Card

As for the citizens of the other EU member states, EEA and Swiss citizens, if they already have an European Health Insurance, they are eligible to have free access at the German health institutions, while in country temporarily. However. once they take up official residence or employment, they will have to get German health insurance.

Whereas, if these citizens do not have European Health Insurance when in Germany temporarily, they will need to get private health insurance, or to pay the full costs of any medical treatment they receive while in Germany.