Germany provides a good level of universal healthcare and is one of the safest countries in the world. In the event of an emergency, help will arrive within a few minutes. 

Ensuring basic medical care

Germany’s healthcare system is also one of the best in the world. To ensure that everyone in Germany can benefit from good basic medical care and protection against high medical bills, all persons living in Germany must take out health insurance. In Germany, health insurance is a legal requirement for everyone. You will need to be able to prove that you have health insurance at various points during your stay, including when you extend your visa, apply for a residence permit or register at a language school or university.

Statutory or private health insurance

The German healthcare system is split into two parts, with statutory health insurance provided by the state and private health insurance provided by privately owned insurers. The main difference between statutory health insurance and private health insurance is the level of cover provided and the amount of premium you will pay.

Whether or not you can choose between the two variants depends on the type of course you are studying. 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).

Comparison of medical care

Generally, insurance policies cover the costs of all the medical treatment that you will need if you become ill or are involved in an accident. The costs of medicines prescribed to you by a doctor are also reimbursed. This applies to both statutory health insurance and private health insurance.

In some cases, statutory health insurance will also provide additional insurance cover for services such as preventive cancer screening, sports and exercise classes or dental hygiene appointments. Sometimes you will need to pay an additional premium for these extra services. One of the main advantages of statutory health insurance is that your treatment costs for any pre-existing conditions will also be covered.

Private healthcare insurance policies usually offer more additional services and significantly more comprehensive treatment than statutory policies. As a result, private health insurance is often far better, but also more expensive. However, there are special student rates that can be a lot cheaper than statutory health insurance.

Cost reimbursement procedure

The procedure for claiming back costs also differs: Statutory health insurers will settle the bill with your doctor or hospital directly.

If you have private health insurance, your doctor will send you their invoice. You then submit this invoice to your insurer to claim reimbursement. Generally, the insurer will pay the required amount into your bank account within a few days, so that you can pay the doctor. If you are treated as a hospital in-patient (which means that you stay in hospital for one or more nights to complete your treatment), it is a good idea to contact your insurer as soon as possible. In such cases, your private health insurer will contact the hospital to discuss a payment agreement and will pay the costs of your treatment directly to the hospital.

Comparison of student premiums for statutory and private health insurance

Students benefit from very low premiums. Generally, premiums are paid monthly. Statutory health insurance costs between €100 and €110 per month for a student. Private health insurance usually costs between €30 and €40 per month. Insurers provide different levels of cover. If you want insurance that covers vaccinations, pregnancy and similar treatment costs, your monthly premium will be higher.

For students, statutory health insurance can cost up to three times more than private health insurance. However, statutory health insurance does cover the treatment of pre-existing conditions. This is why the monthly premiums for the two variants are so different.

Illness or injury

You can find further information on what you need to do in the event of illness or injury here.

It is important: to note that you should only go directly to hospital in an emergency; in all other cases, you should book an appointment at a doctor’s surgery.

Important emergency numbers

Comparison of private and statutory health insurance

Monthly costs

Insurance cover

Cost reimbursement procedure

Ablauf Kostenerstattung

Persons who cannot obtain insurance

Limitations on insurance cover

Similar topics

Find out more about the German health system

How do I apply for a residence permit for my stay in Germany?

To apply for a residence permit, you will need to prove that you have valid health insurance in place. Find out where you can apply for a residence permit and which other documents you will need to present here.

Which type of health insurance do I need to take out during my studies?

Depending on the type of course you’re studying, you will either only be eligible for private health insurance, or you will be able to choose between private health insurance or statutory health insurance.

What do I need to do if I get ill or injured?

If you get ill or injured, you should contact a doctor. With most health insurance policies, you can choose your own doctor.

What should I do if I have COVID symptoms?

If you have any symptoms that could indicate a COVID-19 infection, please contact a doctor. Speak to the doctor on the phone before you visit the practice.