Health Insurance

At a glance

If you want to carry out research in Germany, you will need health insurance. Find out here which options apply to your circumstances.

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 If you are taking part in a short-term research stay for up to 90 days or if you apply for a visa, you will need travel health insurance coverage for the Schengen area with a coverage amount of at least 30,000 Euros as well as expenses for evacuation and repatriation in case of illness, accident or death (unlimited in case of residence permit up to one year). The travel insurance must cover the whole Schengen area, and all coverage sums must be listed in euros. Please make sure your insurance coverage begins on your first day in Germany, and do not register for more than 90 days. You should make sure that the travel health insurance can be cancelled, e.g. after you sign your work contract.

Adequate health insurance coverage is always a requirement for a residence permit. Which options are open to you depends on your status here in Germany.

Scholarship holders and those with private funding

If you are financing your stay with private funds or a scholarship, you must purchase adequate private health insurance covering serious illness and accidents for the duration of your stay. In contrast to the statutory health insurance plan for employees, most private health insurance policies only cover acute care, not chronic or pre-existing conditions or preventative check-ups, and in general each family member must have his or her own policy.

With private insurance, there are great differences both in coverage and in fees. Waiting times apply to pregnancy and childbirth. Pre-existing and chronic conditions are not covered, so be sure to bring along a sufficient supply of any medication that you require.

If you bring along adequate health insurance coverage from your home country and your health insurance provider confirms in writing that they will cover doctor and hospital costs while you are in Germany, your existing coverage may be recognized for stays of up to one year. Your confirmation letter must state any upper limits to the benefits that it will cover. This option is usually only available if your country has a social security agreement with Germany.

If you do not bring adequate health insurance coverage, if this is not recognized, or if you will be staying in Germany for longer than one year, you must purchase health insurance coverage from a German company which can state that its coverage is equivalent in nature and scope to German statutory public health insurance.

Please see here for EURAXESS Germany recommended health insurances for international researchers.

In case you chose another option, check with your personal support to find out which companies are accepted.

Read the benefits and conditions carefully!

Here are a few things you may wish to compare:

  • Does your provider require a prior health check-up?
  • What medical and dental procedures are covered (and which are excluded)?
  • What is the cancellation policy if you find that you will be leaving the country early? It may be advisable to sign up for the maximum allowable insurance period if there is a possibility that you might extend your stay. Why? Most companies will allow you to cancel your policy if your plans change and you return home early, but if you become ill while you are in Germany, an application for extension of your coverage could be denied.
  • Must the policy be purchased before entering Germany? Within one month of arrival? Each company has its own rules.
  • How are doctor's bills handled? In general, with private health insurance you must pay any doctor's bills yourself and then apply for reimbursement. Read the conditions of your provider.
    Please note: Even if your health insurance offers payment guarantees for plannable treatments such as non-emergency surgery, childbirth etc., a hospital or doctor’s office might still reject your insurance company’s payment guarantee and ask you for advance payment, e.g. if your health insurance provider is not located in Germany. Please make sure to check on how things will be handled well in advance of the planned treatment.
  • Is private liability insurance included in your tariff?
  • Do age limitations apply, and are you eligible?

Contact your personal support team if you have any questions, particularly if you will be coming with your family.

Please note that private health insurance may make you ineligible for later coverage under the statutory health insurance scheme except for certain cases such as switching from a scholarship to an employment contract.

Employees with work contracts and MPS support contractholders

If you have an employment contract or an MPS support contract, you are automatically covered by the German statutory health insurance system, which is mandatory for all employees with an annual income below a certain threshold (2021: 64,350 EUR). The costs for this coverage are a certain percentage of your income and are shared by employee and employer. In contrast to most private insurance schemes,

  • even pre-existing and chronic conditions are covered without waiting periods
  • you have a free choice of doctors, provided that they are authorized to treat patients of the statutory health insurance scheme
  • you present your health insurance card to the doctor's office, and the doctor bills the insurance company directly. This means you do not have to settle the bill yourself and then request reimbursement.
  • preventative check-ups are included and encouraged
  • spouses and children without their own income are generally covered by your policy at no extra cost.

You are free to select your own statutory health insurance provider (see the lists below). When you sign your work contract, you may inform your employer which one you have chosen, and your employer will contact the health insurance company to confirm your status. Your share of the insurance costs is deducted from your paycheck.

The differences between the various providers are minimal with respect to cost and benefits, but you may want to choose a provider that has an office in Tuebingen or that has information material in English.

In some exceptional cases where there is a Social Security Agreement between Germany and your own country, your home coverage may continue to apply to you and exempt you from the German statutory health insurance scheme. This must be confirmed by your health insurance provider or social security agency at home using form 1 or 101. If you think this may be the case, be sure to contact your health insurance provider before leaving home.

List of all statutory health insurance providers in Germany

This list can be filtered by clicking on the drop-down arrow under "Für welches Bundesland suchen Sie eine Krankenkasse?" and choosing the State of Baden-Württemberg.

List of statutory health insurance providers with offices in Tuebingen

Please note: In case your annual income at one point may exceed 64.350 EUR (2021), you have the option to choose whether you would like to take out private health insurance or whether to stay in voluntary statutory health insurance. For voluntary statutory health insurance, please discuss with your employer if you need to apply for subsidies from the LBV (Landesamt für Besoldung und Versorgung Baden-Württemberg) or if your employer has arranged this for you.

EU citizens

The following applies to you if you are a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

If you will have a German employment contract, please refer to the information under "Employees" above.

If you are staying in another EU country for less than three months and have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you may also use this card in Germany for necessary medical services. Only acute medical care is covered. More information on the European Health Insurance Card is available at https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559&langId=en.

If you are entitled to statutory health insurance at home, then your domestic health insurance provider will issue Form E106 or S1 on request. Form E106 or S1 entitles you and your family members to register with a German health insurance scheme. The German health insurance scheme will then provide all the services that a German health insurance scheme member is entitled to. The German health insurance scheme will subsequently bill the domestic health insurance provider for their costs. Contact your domestic health insurance provider for more information.

For more detailed information, please see the health insurance overview on the website of EURAXESS Germany - the EU portal for Researchers in Motion.

An illustrated health dictionary is available from the organization Deutsches Studentenwerk (German Student Services) with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

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