When is a private health insurance and when a statutory health insurance an option for you?

In the German healthcare system, statutory health insurances is provided by the state and private health insurance is provided by privately owned insurers. The main difference between these two types of insurance is the level of cover provided and the amount of premium you will pay.

If you are coming to Germany to study, then your choice of health insurance will depend on the type of course you are studying. To register at a German university, you will need to provide proof of health insurance. In Germany, you are required to have health insurance cover in place for your entire stay. 

During the first three months of your course, you can switch from statutory to private health insurance or vice versa. After this point, your decision will be binding for the remainder of your studies and you will not be able to switch between statutory and private health insurance. However, you can still switch providers within the health insurance systems (e.g. by moving from one private insurance provider to another).

When can I only take out private health insurance?

If you belong to one of the groups listed below, you will only be able to obtain insurance from a private health insurance provider. You will not be eligible for statutory health insurance:
  • Students at private business schools (not officially recognised universities)
  • Students at language schools
  • Students at university preparatory colleges (institutions known in Germany as “Studienkollegs”)
  • Students at private universities/business schools
  • Trainees
  • “Work & travel” participants
  • People over 30 years

When choosing a provider, it is important to consider what the insurance covers, what it costs and how you can apply for the policy (e.g. online or in a branch). 

When can I choose between statutory health insurance and private health insurance?

If you belong to one of the groups listed below, you will be able to choose between statutory and private health insurance.
  • University students (bachelor’s/master’s degrees)
  • Postdocs
  • Guest scientists

How do I get an exemption from statutory health insurance?

To get an exemption from the requirement to obtain statutory insurance, you will need to contact a statutory health insurance provider directly. The statutory health insurance providers often have representatives working from offices at German universities. Even if you visit an office in person, you must apply for an exemption in writing. Please take your valid private health insurance certificate with you, as you will need this to obtain the exemption. German universities will only accept your private health insurance certificate in conjunction with a statutory insurance exemption certificate.  


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