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Information on Health Insurance for Students

Pursuant to Section 199a, subsection 1, sentence 2 of Book Five of the German Social Code (SGB V), the National Association of Public health insurance Funds (“GKV-Spitzenverband”) determines the content of the information to be provided to university applicants and students by the universities and the Foundation for Higher Education Admission (“Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung") with regard to compulsory insurance in the public health insurance system.

1. Facts about Insurance

a) Compulsory insurance

Students and new/returning enrollees who want to enroll at a state or state-recognized institution of higher education in the Federal Republic of Germany are required to have insurance from a public health insurance company as well as compulsory long-term care insurance. This also applies to students and new/returning enrollees enrolled in Germany who have their permanent or ordinary residence in another country. Students and new/returning enrollees who can prove that they have a claim to benefits in kind from a foreign health insurance company are exempt from this. Whether health insurance coverage that continues to apply while abroad is sufficient for this purpose depends, among other things, on whether corresponding agreements exist between Germany and the country in which the students or new/returning enrollees have their ordinary residence.

Compulsory insurance applies, at the longest, until the end of the semester in which the student reaches the age of 30. Compulsory insurance continues to apply beyond this point in time if

  • the type of education,
  • family reasons,
  • personal reasons,

justify exceeding the age limit or a longer period of specialized study.

Students who work for pay alongside their studies remain compulsorily insured as students if their overall situation appears to be that of a student, meaning that their time and effort is overwhelmingly dedicated to their studies (they do not work more than 20 hours/week). However, if the extent of a student’s employment conveys the impression of an employee, then this person is required to hold insurance as an employee and not as a student.

b) Family insurance

Students or new/returning enrollees are not required to hold individual student health insurance if they are covered by family insurance through a statutorily insured parent, spouse, or life partner (as defined by the German Act on Registered Life Partnerships). Family insurance in the public health insurance scheme without additional premiums is available for young adults up to the age of 25 if they are in school or undergoing professional education and training (including studies in higher education), provided that all other requirements are met. The relevant health insurance company can provide information about these requirements. If studies in higher education are terminated, family insurance continues until the end of the semester, but only up to the point that the student reaches the age of 25.

If their school or professional education is interrupted or delayed by voluntary military service or a voluntary service in accordance with the Act on the Federal Voluntary Service, the Act to Promote Youth Voluntary Services, or a comparable and officially recognized voluntary service or an occupation as a development aid volunteer, there is an option for family insurance coverage to continue. It will continue beyond the 25th birthday for a period corresponding to the service period, however, not exceeding 12 months.

c) Exemption from compulsory insurance

Students who become obligated to carry insurance upon enrollment can apply for exemption from this obligation. The application must be submitted to the health insurance company within three months after the beginning of the compulsory insurance period. The exemption cannot be revoked; it is valid for the entire duration of your university studies.

d) Voluntary insurance

Students who are no longer subject to the insurance requirement (e.g., due to exceeding the maximum age for student health insurance) can receive continued coverage under voluntary insurance with the public health insurance company. If the student does not wish to continue the insurance coverage, he or she can declare his or her withdrawal within two weeks after the health insurance company has pointed out this withdrawal option. The withdrawal will only become effective if the existence of another claim to coverage in the event of illness can be documented – for example, through private health insurance.

2. Enrollment not possible without insurance

New/returning enrollees must provide proof of their insurance status to the university prior to enrollment. For this purpose, new/returning enrollees must request proof of their insurance status from the health insurance company, attesting whether or not they are covered by public health insurance at the beginning of the semester or on the day of enrollment. The health insurance company then sends proof of the insurance status directly to the university in an electronic procedure. As long as this electronic registration procedure is not yet used by the university, the health insurance company will issue a certificate of insurance about

  • whether the new/returning enrollees are insured with them or
  • whether the new/returning enrollees are exempt from compulsory insurance or not subject to compulsory insurance.

The certificate of insurance must be submitted to the university with the documentation for enrollment. If you change universities, you will need to submit a new certificate of health insurance.

Exceptions: New/returning enrollees who have reached the age of 30 and new/returning enrollees who are enrolling in a doctoral program are not required to provide proof of their insurance status at the time of enrollment.

Note: New/returning enrollees are automatically reported to health insurance companies after all enrollments are completed. This is why the registration forms that the health insurance companies include with the health insurance certificate are not filled out by the Office of Student Affairs.

3. Which public health insurance company?

New/returning enrollees can obtain the insurance certificate required for initial enrollment from the public health insurance company with which they are insured as a member or family member at the start of their studies or with which they are expected to be insured.

New/returning enrollees who do not hold insurance from a public health insurance company at the beginning of their studies receive their certificate of health insurance from the public health insurance company in which they last held a membership or family insurance coverage. It is irrelevant how long ago the last membership or family insurance coverage was held. If there is no last public health insurance company, then one of the available public health insurance companies is responsible for issuing the certificate of health insurance.

Applicants who want to be exempted from the insurance obligation receive their certificate of health insurance from the public health insurance company that grants the exemption.

4. Choosing a health insurance company

Students and new/returning enrollees who are subject to compulsory insurance or eligible for insurance (voluntarily insured) may choose membership with one of the following health insurance companies:

  • with the AOK of their place of employment or residence, or with the AOK that is responsible for the location of the university’s registered office,
  • with any of the alternative healthcare companies (called “Ersatzkassen”)
  • with a company health insurance fund (BKK), if they are employed at a company that has a company health insurance fund,
  • with any company (BKK) or guild (IKK) health insurance fund, if this is possible according to the fund’s rules and regulations,
  • with the KNAPPSCHAFT,
  • with the health insurance company with which the student last had a membership or had family coverage before the start of the compulsory insurance period or entitlement to insurance,
  • with the health insurance company that insures the student’s spouse or civil partner.

5. Further information

This website only provides general information. For further details, especially with regard to the exact amount of premiums to be paid, please refer to information provided by the competent health insurance company.

6. Information for international students and new/returning international enrollees

Further information on health insurance for international students and new/returning international enrollees is available here.