Health insurance is mandatory in Germany and it often has to be presented already when applying for a visa.
For entry into Germany, it is advisable to have travel health insurance that covers the period of arrival.
Once you have arrived in Germany, however, you must have valid health insurance for your stay. If you come from an EU country, you should clarify whether you can continue to use your existing insurance in your home country for your stay in Germany. If this is not the case or if you come from a country outside the EU, you should take out health insurance in good time. It is possible to apply for health insurance from abroad with most German health insurance companies.
In Germany there are both private and statutory health insurances. Whether you have to take out private or statutory health insurance usually depends on whether you have an employment contract in Germany or whether you are financed, for example, by a scholarship, funding from your home university or your own funds.
We recommend the information portal Euraxess, as it contains precise and detailed information on the topic of health insurance. You will also find lists of public and private health insurance companies with the relevant contact details.
Health insurance without employment contract
If you come to Saarland University without an employment contract (especially students), you have to insure yourself. It is obligatory for students to upload a health insurance policy when enrolling. To do this, you must contact a German statutory insurance company once. This insurance company will then send an electronic notification to Saar University stating whether you are covered by statutory insurance or not. If you have private insurance or insurance from abroad, this statutory insurance will check whether your insurance cover is sufficient. This check is free of charge. If you already have insurance and it is not sufficient, then you must take out statutory health insurance in Germany.
If you are a national of an EU member state and are already in possession of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will not need to take out additional German health insurance. The EHIC applies to medical and health services within the entire EU region.
In this case, please send the proof of EHIC to the German statutory insurance company so that the electronic notification to the university can be made from there.
Students from countries outside the EU will need to purchase student health insurance cover from a health insurance provider in Germany. If you are older than 30 years, please contact the statutory insurance providers, to learn if you can still join their insurance.
You can find this type of insurance, amongst other places, with the three providers of statutory health insurance on campus.
If statutory health insurance is not possible (for example due to age), you can look into the option of private insurance.
If you are taking a German language course or preparatory courses at the Studienkolleg, you will not be able to apply for student health insurance cover from a statutory health insurance fund. You will need to take out private health insurance or apply to pay voluntary contributions to a statutory health insurance fund. If you need help finding a health insurance provider, please contact the staff at the Welcome Center for assistance.
Visiting scientist or guests without an employment contract who finance themselves through a scholarship or their own funds must usually take out private health insurance.
In exceptional cases, voluntary membership in a statutory health insurance scheme may be possible in accordance with § 9 of the German Social Code Book V. You can enquire about this with a statutory health insurance company.
If you already have valid health insurance in your home country for your stay, check whether it covers medical and hospital costs during your stay in Germany. Please have your insurance company confirm this in writing (at least in English). If you already have insurance and it is not sufficient, you will need to take out additional private insurance. You can do this abroad, but we recommend that you do so with a German health insurance company to ensure that you are covered. If you are coming to Germany on a scholarship, please also check with your scholarship provider, as they may also cooperate with private health insurance companies.
With private health insurance, premiums are calculated on the basis of various factors: Age, length of stay, gender, etc. Often there are different tariffs (basic or premium) and the cheaper tariffs exclude many benefits. Please inform yourself well about the different tariffs and, if in doubt, choose the slightly more expensive tariff that covers more.
You can find detailed information about private health insurance for visiting academics and researchers on the website of the Euraxess network.
Health insurance with employment contract
During your stay in Germany, you will need to conclude a health insurance. If you have an employment contract with Saarland University, you will be subject to the mandatory social security insurances. As a rule, you have to sign a contract with a German statutory health insurance company. On the website of the GKV Spitzenverband you will find a list of all German statutory health insurances, many of which are also available in Saarland.
Spouses and children travelling with you to Germany can be covered by the statutory health insurance free of charge.
Health insurance is part of the German social security system. On our pages, we provide you with a brief overview with information on the topic of social insurances. Please also use the Euraxess information portal to find out what the topic of social insurance means for your stay.
Notes on private health insurance
Please note that private health insurance may have limitations. Please always read the tariffs offered in detail and check whether there are any pre-existing conditions that are not covered. Often, private health insurance also comes with waiting periods and the rates are calculated according to age.
In many cases, it may be necessary to take out private insurance (participation in preparatory studies, students older than 30, etc.). However, we advise against taking out private insurance only because it seems cheaper.
If it is possible, we always advise joining the German statutory health insurance!
On the Euraxess Network website you will find an overview with information on private health insurance for international doctoral students and researchers with scholarships or self-funding