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Health insurance

Health insurance – insurance certificate for enrolment

According to the Bavarian Higher Education Act, all prospective students must present their university with an official insurance certificate from a German statutory health insurance provider (e.g. AOK, TK, Barmer, DAK, etc.) – irrespective of which country they are from.

The purpose of the insurance certificate from the statutory health insurance provider is to confirm to the university whether

  • you have statutory health insurance or
  • you do not have statutory health insurance.

Students enrolled at a state or state-approved university in the Federal Republic of Germany are required to have statutory health insurance. This also applies to students enrolled at universities in Germany who are not usually resident in Germany.

However, students who have proof of suitable insurance from a foreign health insurance provider are exempt. Whether the health insurance cover from abroad provides sufficient cover depends, for example, on whether the relevant agreements are in place between Germany and the country where the student is usually based.

The requirement for statutory health insurance applies no later than the end of the semester in which the student turns 30. The requirement for statutory health insurance continues beyond this date if

  • the type of training (e.g. participation in a preparatory language course with completed DSH examination, if this is a compulsory prerequisite for starting a degree programme),
  • family reasons (e.g. medical condition of a family member that requires the student to care for the member of their family),
  • personal reasons (e.g. the student themselves has a medical condition which means they cannot participate in a degree programme or only to a limited extent),
  • the fact that the student has gained their university entrance qualification in adulthood from an educational institution specialising in this area

justify exceptions to this age limit.

Students are required to have statutory health insurance when they enrol at a university but can apply for an exemption from this requirement.

An application for exemption must be submitted to the relevant health insurance provider within three months of the beginning of the requirement, usually with the health insurance provider the student could have chosen if they had required statutory health insurance.

This exemption cannot be withdrawn and it is valid for the entire duration of the course of study. The exemption is only valid if proof of another form of health insurance is provided, such as private health insurance.

Request proof of your insurance status from your health insurance provider. The health insurance company will forward this proof in electronic form directly to the university. If electronic data transfer is not used at the university, the health insurance provider will issue an insurance certificate that the prospective student must show to the university.

The health insurance provider with whom the prospective student is insured or will be insured at the beginning of their degree programme is responsible for issuing the health insurance certificate (electronically or on paper). In the case of students who are exempt from mandatory health insurance, the health insurance provider that issued the exemption is responsible. Prospective students who are not insured with a statutory health insurance provider must contact the health insurance provider of which they were last a member or otherwise a health insurance provider with which they could be insured.

Students enrolled at a state or state-approved university are required to have statutory health insurance, irrespective of whether they are usually resident in Germany (Section 5 (1) (9) German Social Security Code V). They are subject to the special regulations of students’ health insurance (Krankenversicherung der Studenten – KVdS).

Two exceptions apply:

  • If students have statutory health insurance for another overriding reason (e.g. family insurance), or if they are exempt or released from the requirement to have mandatory health insurance;
  • If students are normally resident in a country with which Germany has an international social security agreement, and thereby have health insurance cover for illness and pregnancy.

Students who come from countries that do not have a social security agreement with Germany who enrol at a state or state-approved university are therefore also subject to statutory health insurance. These students may be exempt from statutory health insurance if they can provide proof of alternative health insurance (Section 8 (1) (5) (2) SGB V).

Since summer semester 2020, several universities have reduced face-to-face teaching to an absolute minimum and are offering classes online instead, particularly lectures. Degree programmes which are taught remotely (e.g. requiring students to participate in online lectures or use other remote learning methods) have more in common with a distance learning course than attendance-based learning (circular RS 2020/931 of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Providers (GKV-Spitzenverband) published on 20 May 2020).

Students from countries that do not have a social security agreement with Germany who have enrolled at a German university but are not in Germany and are attending only online lectures and seminars are therefore not subject to statutory health insurance for students in KVdS. The reasons why the student is not in Germany are not relevant and any current restrictions about entering or leaving the country are of no consequence.

If students from countries which do not have an agreement with Germany who are taking degree programmes offered entirely online (including examinations) enter Germany during the semester and start to study by attending classes/examinations, they will require statutory health insurance for students.

However, the obligation to have health insurance does not start from the date of entry into Germany, but rather (Section 186 (7)(1) SGB V)

  • from the start of the semester,
  • but no earlier than the date of enrolment.

In order to enrol at a university, prospective students from countries which do not have an agreement with Germany who intend participating in a degree programme offered entirely online and who are not coming to Germany to study must provide confirmation of insurance status in accordance with legal provisions (Section 199a (2) SGB V) and the enrolment regulations in force at the universities.

If students have not previously had health insurance in Germany, they can obtain the confirmation from any of the health insurance providers they could have chosen if they had been obliged to take out health insurance. The health insurance provider then issues an insurance certificate.

In order to assess the insurance status in cases such as these, the health insurance providers require the following documents:

  • Confirmation from the university stating in which semesters exclusively remote teaching is offered
  • An informal declaration by the student that they are exclusively resident outside Germany (for example in their home country) for the duration of the semester in question.

Based on this, the health insurance provider can then issue an insurance certificate stating that the student does not have statutory health insurance. The information stated on the certificate remains valid until such time as the student submits a new insurance certificate indicating that the insurance status has changed.

FAQs

If you have private health insurance, we require confirmation of exemption from statutory health insurance for enrolling at a university (known in German as Nachweis über die Befreiung von der gesetzlichen Versicherungspflicht zur Vorlage an einer Hochschule). This is issued by a statutory health insurance provider. Please contact the statutory health insurance provider you were last insured with. If you have never had statutory health insurance, you can contact a statutory health insurance provider of your own choice.

Confirmation of private health insurance or a copy of your health insurance card is not sufficient!

Prospective international students from a member state of the EU or the EEA or a country with a social security agreement with Germany who have health insurance cover in their home country should take a copy of their valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC ) or their provisional replacement certificate (PRC) and contact one of the statutory health insurance providers in Germany.

Please clarify exactly which documents the health insurance provider requires before leaving your home country. If your health insurance from your home country is recognised by the statutory health insurance provider in Germany, you will receive confirmation that you are exempt from statutory health insurance. You will need this for enrolment.

Confirmation of health insurance cover in your home country or a copy of your health insurance card is not sufficient for enrolment!

Please first contact a statutory health insurance provider in Germany and have your health insurance cover from your home country checked. If your health insurance cover from your home country is not recognised in Germany or if you are not insured in your home country, you will have to take out health insurance in Germany. You can choose whether to take out private health insurance or statutory health insurance.

Statutory health insurance

A number of statutory health insurance providers allow you to take out statutory health insurance before you actually arrive in Germany. Online forms are available on the websites of the various health insurance providers. Once you have taken out health insurance, you should ask your health insurance provider for an insurance certificate for enrolling at university (Versicherungsbescheinigung für die Einschreibung an der Hochschule).

Private health insurance

Even if you take out private health insurance in Germany, you still have to submit an insurance certificate from a statutory health insurance provider in order to enrol.

Before you take out private health insurance, you should contact a statutory health insurance provider. You can ask them for a list of the private health insurance policies the statutory health insurance provider accepts in order to issue the certificate you require. Unfortunately, private health insurance companies also offer policies which do not meet all the legal requirements for full health insurance coverage.

In order to avoid wasting money on health insurance which is subsequently rejected by the statutory health insurance provider for being insufficient and not receiving the certificate you require, you must have the private health insurance you have chosen checked by the statutory health insurance provider before signing the contract.

Confirmation of health insurance cover in your home country or a copy of your health insurance card is not sufficient for enrolment!

Taking an examination is an integral part of studying. This means that the student is therefore in Germany for the purpose of studying. As a result, the student is then required to have health insurance in Germany.