University students in Germany must have health insurance. This includes exchange students.
This page includes advice for students on undergraduate and Masters programmes. If you are a PhD student, you should seek advice about insurance requirements from the Welcome Centre.
As a student on an undergraduate or Master's programme, you will have to prove that you have health insurance for your matriculation (enrolment) at the University of Passau and also when registering for a residence permit with the Ausländerbehörde (the foreigners' registration office) of the city of Passau.
There are three possible solutions:
- Proof of insurance: If you have existing insurance (e.g. in your home country) which covers you during your stay in Germany, you may be able to obtain a proof of insurance document.
- Sign up for statutory (public) health insurance in Germany: You can register with one of Germany’s government-backed health insurance providers.
- Buy private health insurance: You can buy a private health insurance policy in Germany.
If you are about to enrol on a degree programme, whichever health insurance option you choose at the start of your studies becomes irrevocable until the end of your studies.
The University and local authorities will ask you for proof of insurance - the so called "Versicherungsbescheinigung". If you want to use existing insurance from your home country, then neither the University nor local authorities have the expertise to determine whether your insurance cover is sufficient. Only proof of insurance issued by German statutory insurance providers is recognised.
On request, German statutory health insurance providers will assess whether your existing coverage is adequate. The German insurer can then issue you with a proof of insurance certificate that confirms your existing insurance is sufficient, and that you are exempt from the requirement to get insurance in Germany.
Paid work and health insurance
People who take up paid employment in Germany also have to have health insurance from a German provider. If you get a part-time job or a paid work placement, please seek advice about whether this changes your health insurance requirements. For advice, contact the iStudi Coach or one of the statury health insurance providers for information.
Countries with a social security agreements with Germany
Germany has signed social security agreements that include mutual recognition of statutory health insurance with the following countries:
- All EU member states, as well as:
- United Kingdom (until 31/12/2020)
If you are a national of a country that has a health insurance agreement with Germany, and if you are covered by public (state-run) health insurance in your home country, you don’t have to get additional German health insurance during your studies. However, you must ensure that your insurance does not expire during your stay in Germany.
If you stay in Germany after you graduate, or if you take up any paid employment, you will have to get German health insurance at that point.
You still have to obtain a proof of insurance document from a German insurance provider. However, this is comparatively straightforward.
- European (EEA) citizens must have a valid EHIC card.
- Citizens of other countries with a social security agreement: please contact the office of a statutory health insurance provider to find out what evidence you need to bring.
If you are privately insured in your home country, you need to find out whether it meets the German legal requirements before you can get a proof of insurance document.
Therefore, you need to contact your insurance company before you travel to Germany and get information from them. They will have to provide you with a detailed list of things that your insurance covers – and specify what it covers while you are studying in Germany.
British students, who commenced studying in Germany by 31 December 2020, should obtain a UK EHIC card. This special EHIC card is only be valid for the duration of the studies and its validity is limited to Germany.
British students who arrived in Germany from 1st January 2021 to study here will need to follow the advice listed under "All other countries" below.
All other countries
Most international students have to take out health insurance in Germany.
If you have health insurance in your home country, and if this insurance includes cover while you are abroad in Germany, then you might be able to get an exemption from getting German health insurance while you study. However, most foreign health insurance schemes are deemed inadequate, because they are usually limited in terms of the benefits, applicable limits and/or the duration of coverage.
You should contact your health insurance provider in your home country before leaving for Germany to obtain detailed information of your coverage while you are in Germany. Only uncapped insurance contracts, i.e. those without a limit on the sum paid per person and per incident, provide adequate health insurance cover. There must not be a limit on the duration of coverage or clauses requiring repatriation in case of long treatments, either. If your insurance covers all of the above while you study in Germany, then you might be able to get a proof of insurance.
You can make an appointment at the office of any statutory health insurance provider to get a proof of insurance document. Bring along the above-mentioned evidence. If your evidence is satisfactory, you will be given a certificate that proves your insurance status to the University and to local authorities.
If you don't have sufficient cover to get a proof of insurance document as described above, we recommend that you take out health insurance with a statutory (public) health insurance scheme in Germany, especially if you are aged under 30 and enrolling on a university programme that lasts a year or longer.
German public health insurers offer a student health insurance rate for university students aged under 30.
Costs of student health insurance (as of February 2020)
The monthly cost is between 101 and 112 euros per month for those aged between 23 and 30 years, and marginally cheaper for those aged 18 to 23 years old.
The cost of student health insurance will rise by about 3 euros in October 2020.
Please note: Student health insurance coverage starts on the first day of the semester – 1 October (summer semester) or 1 April (winter semester). It is recommended that you arrange for some health insurance (e.g. a travel insurance) that covers you for the time between your arrival in Germany and the beginning of the semester.
From the age of 30, the student health insurance rate no longer applies.
If you commence your university studies in Germany when you are aged over 30, and if you are not employed (to the level where health insurance becomes mandatory) in Germany, and if you have no prior statutory health insurance, then you cannot sign up for statutory health insurance. In that case, you must get private health insurance (see the next big section on this page).
There are over 50 statutory insurance providers that offer health insurance in Bavaria. However, there are only four health insurance providers with offices in Passau. There, you can make appointments and get advice about the insurance schemes and how to register.
As alternative to the statutory insurance schemes, there are private health insurance schemes available. Things to keep in mind:
- If you have a pre-existing health condition, many private health insurance tariffs will not cover it. In that case, statutory insurance may be a better solution for you.
- You will have to pay medical bills yourself if you take out private health insurance, and claim back expenses from the insurer afterwards. This can cause financial strain while you wait for claims to be processed and reimbursed. (If you sign up for statutory insurance, medical bills for covered treatments go directly to the insurer.)
- There may be an excess that you have to pay yourself (e.g. the first 50 euros of any medical bill). This depends on the policy you take out.
- If you buy a private health insurance policy as a student, you may not be able to switch to a statutory health insurance policy later on, even if your insurance costs rise.
If you take out private health insurance in Germany, you will still need to get a proof of insurance letter from a statutory health insurance provider before you can matriculate (enrol) at the University of Passau.
You should contact one of the statutory health insurance providers before you sign up to a private health insurance policy. You can ask the statutory provider for a list of private insurance policies which they can issue proof of insurance letters for. Unfortunately, there are companies selling private health insurance policies to international students that do not meet all legal requirements.
To avoid the risk of wasting money on a policy that is insufficient, make sure you get the policy checked by a statutory provider before you buy it.
Is private health insurance a good fit for you?
Generally, private health insurance can be of interest to the following types of students:
- Students who are aged over 30 are only eligible for statutory insurance if they are employed, or if they are already in a statury insurance scheme by the time they reach their 30th birthday. Those who don't meet these criteria must get private health insurance instead.
- (Preparatory) German language students from countries that don't have a social security agreement with Germany may wish to sign up for private insurance to cover the duration of their preparatory studies.
- International students who arrive weeks / months before the start of the semester may wish to sign up for a short-term private insurance contract to bridge the gap until their student health insurance with a German statutory provider commences.
The Illustrated health dictionary for foreign students in Germany was produced by the Student Services Association (Studentenwerk) as a useful resource for international students. Among other things it includes terminology useful for health insurance, doctor visits and sick notes. The book explains various health related topics with example dialogues and typical scenes from everyday life.