Health and insurance

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Health Insurance in Germany

In order to enrol at a German university or to obtain a residence permit, people must have adequate health insurance coverage.

Video health insurance in Germany

Since 2009, every person who permanently resides in the Federal Republic of Germany is subject to mandatory health insurance. For short-term stays, you need at least a travel health insurance, otherwise a visa for Germany cannot be issued. For long-term stays, sufficient health insurance coverage is a basic requirement in order to get a residence permit.

How is health insurance organised?

Health insurance covers the costs of medical treatment in the event of illness as well as many health care and rehabilitation costs. The German health insurance system is divided into the public and private health insurance system.

Public health insurance obligation for employees

Employees are generally mandatorily insured in the public health insurance system. The insurance fee is 14.6% of the gross salary (sometimes additionally a supplementary contribution of 0.7 %). The maximum salary of 62.100 Euro (in 2024) is taken as a basis. That means that the contribution is limited to a maximum amount. The employer pays half of this fee, the employee the other half (7.3% of gross salary). In addition, family members (spouses and children) can be insured free of charge (family insurance). After you have taken up your first employment which is subject to mandatory social insurance, you will receive your social security number.

List of public health insurance companies in Hamburg

Private Health insurance

Self-employed persons or persons whose annual income is higher than the compulsory insurance treshold (2024: 69.300 Euro) can choose whether they wish to be insured in the private or the public system. The fee for private health insurance depends on the age at which you join the insurance, the chosen insurance benefits, any previous illnesses or additional contractual payments. Family members can also be insured, but cost additional fees. There is also a basic tariff in the private system, which provides coverage equivalent to the public health insurance benefits for a maximum fee of 807,98 Euro per month (as of 2023).

List of private health insurance companies

Can I keep my health insurance from my home country?

EU citizens

All EU citizens enjoy the EU freedom of movement. If EU citizens hold the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), they are initially covered by their previous health insurance. However, this does not guarantee the full range of services of a German health insurance and only covers short-term stays and medical emergencies.

For long-term stays, it depends on your situation whether you are still subject to the regulations of your home country or if you are entitled to health care in Germany. Further information can be found on the website of the European Commission. There you will also find forms to confirm your current health care situation when moving within the EU. You can prove your entitlement to health care in Germany with the EU form S1. It must be issued by the relevant office in the country where your health insurance exists or was last held. You can then submit this form to any health insurance company in Germany.

Foreigners from third countries (outside the EU)

Germany has a number of bilateral social security agreements with other countries. These agreements, which also include health insurance, currently exist with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Tunisia (as of March 2018). Persons who require medical treatment during their temporary stay in Germany need proof of entitlement issued by their foreign health insurance company, which must be submitted to a health insurance company of their choice in Germany.

Proofs of entitlement are the certificates BH 6 (Bosnia and Herzegovina), D/RM 111 (Macedonia), DE/MNE 111 (Montenegro), DE 111 SRB (Serbia), A/TN 11 (Tunisia) and A/T 11 (Turkey).

Information on the scope of benefits and the procedure can be obtained from the public health insurance companies in Germany and from your insurance company in your home country.

What is the statutory long-term care insurance?

Long-term care insurance was introduced as an independent branch of social insurance on January 1, 1995.  It is a mandatory insurance for everyone with public or private health insurance. Everyone who is insured by the public health insurance is automatically insured in the social long-term care insurance. Those with private health insurance must take out private long-term care insurance.
The benefits of social long-term care insurance are financed by contributions, which employees and employers pay mostly equally. When and which benefits those in need of care receive from the insurance depends on the duration of the need for care, the degree of care and the type of care. You can find more information on the website of the federal ministry of health (in German).