International students: all you need to know
This is a recap of the important points of this website for International students.
When should you be insured?
If you enrol at a university, you must present a current certificate from your health insurance company when enrolling.
The following countries benefit from equal coverage in Germany, in which case you will not need to renew your coverage to enrol at a university: Member states of the EU, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey. If you are still covered by your family’s insurance, this is also valid in Germany but will end being valid when you turn 25 or when you earn more than 450€/month through a part-time job.
How much does it costs?
The usual contribution rate is placed between 14,9% and 16,4% of the revenue for non-students and is at a fix rate for students, on average 70€ without the ‘Pflegeversicherung’ (nursing care) which comes on average at 20€. This makes your total monthly amount around 90€, depending on your insurance.
In reality, the rates rarely differ. The insurance providers contrast themselves by the additional services they propose. You can consult the differences here.
Differences between insurances
With good health insurance, you should be optimally cared for in all areas: prevention illness and aftercare, no matter if it’s about teeth, pregnancy or travelling. The following services however might or might not be included in your coverage, which is why it is important to compare between the different options before making a choice:
- Free choice of doctor, dentist and clinic
- Skin cancer check
- Coverage abroad
- Dental treatments, dentures, professional cleaning
- Birth control pill cost coverage
- Naturopathy and Homeopathy
- Back pain treatment, Sport medicine coverage
In case you are privately insured under your parents in Germany or just choose to opt for a private insurance because the benefits and prices sound alluring, some things are to be considered.
Since subsidies are only paid until the age of 25, your contribution will be much more expensive once you become 25 since you will have to pay the full costs of private medical insurance. We therefore recommend you to pick a public health insurance to avoid unexpected and unavoidable costs in the future (it very hard to change system from private to public insurance once you made the choice).
You should be aware that student health insurance is valid until the end of the 14th semester and only before you reach 30 years old. You will need to take compulsory insurance at the regular rate once you turn 30.
If you are still enrolled in Germany during your stay abroad, your health insurance will cover you in all countries with which a social security agreement exists (e.g. in all EU/EEA countries). You can obtain a corresponding entitlement certificate from your health insurance fund to. This certificate entitles you to all statutory health insurance benefits in the host country during the semester or stay abroad.
Within many countries, e.g. the USA, there are no social security agreements with the German federal government. In this case, it is essential that you take private health insurance for the duration of your stay, as there would usually be no entitlement to benefits in the event of illness.
(It is certainly best to insure every stay abroad with a private international health insurance policy. If you fall ill abroad, your own contributions for medical or stationary treatment and, if necessary, the costs of medically necessary repatriation are covered by a private international health insurance. The statutory health insurance funds are not allowed to reimburse the costs for return transport).
Having a student job or an internship
Students on a job or internship are treated differently in the social insurance system depending on their job status.
Most student employment will be subject to pension insurance (indexed on the revenue) but its subjection to the rest of potential contributions (health, nursing care and unemployment insurance) depends on several factors. A student job will be subject to regular compulsory insurance contributions if:
- the employment goes beyond three months, lasts more than 20 hours per week and is not limited to the semester break.
- a student is employed for more than 26 weeks in the course of a year. This takes into account all jobs with a weekly working time of more than 20 hours.
- it is a dual study course
If your student job checks none of those criteria, you are exempted of paying a compulsory insurance contribution based on your revenue.
In the case of an internship, your contribution depends on whether your internship is voluntary or mandatory, and if it is completed during your studies or not. Generally the same rules apply as for normal part-time jobs except for mandatory internships during studies, in which case the job is totally exempt from any additional contribution. You can learn more about this here.