Public health insurance for students in Germany
By law, all students enrolled at German state universities, state colleges and universities of applied sciences as well as those who are completing practical training (as stipulated in the study regulations for a degree course) are subject to compulsory public health insurance. Without proof of health insurance, enrollment is not possible.
Foreign students who are privately insured (for whatever reason) but have not yet reached the age of 30 will require a waiver from the public health insurance. Afterwards, taking out insurance with a statutory health insurance fund will no longer be possible!
In Germany, you do not automatically get an insurance card when you start studying. You must first register with a 'Krankenkasse' (German health insurance fund). As a student, you must inform your university which health insurance company you have chosen. You can find more details about the German health insurance system in our Guide.
When should I apply for a public health insurance?
If you don't have a German address yet, you'll not be able to become a member of a public health insurance company.
By law, you need first to do the so-called 'Anmeldung' (German address registration). Once your German address is registered at the 'Bürgeramt' (local citizens office), you'll be able to apply for a public German health insurance. More details in here.
Who is eligible for the public insurance scheme?
As a foreign student enrolled at an officially recognized university in Germany, you must insure yourself with a statutory health insurance if you are under the age of 30 (until you reach your 30th birthday or until your 14th term of study).
After that, you can still choose the public health insurance but on a voluntary basis. The difference is mainly the price: once you go ‘voluntary’, you pay more!
Important: Pupils, language students, students enrolled in preparatory (language) courses for university, trainees (not for university purposes), scholarship holders & postgraduate students participating in a doctoral program (Ph.D.) are not entitled to take out public health insurance! Apply for a private health insurance here
Why should I join the German statutory healthcare system?
The statutory health insurance for students is often cheaper than the private health insurance. Once you go ‘voluntary’, you pay more!
- Fees do not depend on your age or your health status
- Your medical history doesn't matter
- All public health insurance companies offer the same basic benefits and there is no difference between those benefits
- You can insure your children and spouse for free through the family insurance plan (if they have no income or only low income of their own)
- Students with low or no income benefit from an average reduced rate of 81,61€ per month (Rates can differ slightly if you're married or have children)
- The contributions are fixed by law, so all national health insurance providers have the same monthly rates
Calculate here the contributions you'll have to pay if you are married, have to go ‘voluntary’, earn some income or have children.
Become a member of Barmer GEK in 4 easy steps
Sign up here and fill in our online form in English for free as far as possible. This form is available for students & students in practical training.
Forward the PDF form you received, a scanned copy of your passport & a photo (passport size) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The insurance confirmation will be sent by email within 5 working days. This certificate will be sufficient for all your administrative needs.
The insurer will send you the Insurance Card to the German address you specified on the form as soon as possible.