Health and health in­sur­ance

A hospital for over 300 years and a Faculty of Humboldt-Universität since 1927: Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin treats patients, trains doctors and conducts research on medical topics to the highest standards. Photo: Stefan Klenke

In Germany, it is generally mandatory to have health insurance. To enrol, sign an employment contract or apply for a residence permit, you must provide proof of valid health insurance. Find out how this works here.

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Video: Health Insurance for International Students and Researchers. Source: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Health insurance for students

Students from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

Bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. This allows you to prove your right to healthcare in Germany.

You must first have your entitlement recognised. To do this, contact any statutory German health insurance company (see the study advisors mentioned below) and present your valid EHIC (or submit it by email). The health insurance company then sends Humboldt-Universität the proof required for enrolment.

When you visit the doctor, you can name your chosen health insurance company.

Students from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia

Germany has a social security agreement with these countries. Proceed in the same way as students from the European Union (see above). However, if medical treatment is necessary, you must contact your chosen health insurance company again.

You do not have student status before the start of the semester. Until then, you are responsible for your own insurance coverage. This applies, for example, to attendees of the intensive language courses before the start of the semester. We recommend that you take out travel insurance for the period from your arrival to the start of the semester. This can also be helpful when applying for a visa.

If you enrol in the summer semester, you will have student status from 1 April, and if you enrol in the winter semester, you will have student status from 1 October. This means you will have proven your health insurance coverage from this date. Through the university, you are also protected by statutory accident insurance for the direct route to and from the university as well as study-related activities that are directly related to the university.

Compulsory insurance: Students who have private health insurance in their home country are still required to have statutory health insurance in Germany.

Exemption from compulsory insurance: Following a personal consultation (for example at AOK, BARMER, DAK, Die Techniker; see the study advisors mentioned below), an exemption from compulsory insurance may also be granted. In this case, you will receive an “exemption from the statutory health insurance requirement”. However, you should note that once you are exempt from this insurance requirement, you will no longer be able to switch to any statutory health insurance provider during your entire period of study in Germany.

For simplified billing at the doctor or hospital, we recommend German health insurance.

Health insurance for researchers

In Germany, both private and statutory health insurance are available. Whether you can take out private or statutory insurance usually depends on whether you are employed in Germany or finance yourself through other means (e.g. through a scholarship, funding from your home university, your own resources).

In Germany, insurance is compulsory from the first day of entry. However, it is often difficult to get insurance from a private or statutory German health insurance company abroad. You can therefore choose international or travel health insurance as a temporary solution for the first few weeks in Germany. In Germany, you should then take out insurance with a German insurance company as soon as possible.

Special regulations apply to EU citizens. If you are in Germany for a shorter stay, ask your health insurance company in your home country for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, this only covers emergencies. For extended protection, apply for the European Document S1 from your health insurance company in your home country.

In order for your health insurance to be recognised in Germany, you must prove that your health insurance actually offers the same protection as German statutory health insurance. This proof is very difficult and often impossible to provide. Do not rely on this regulation.

If in doubt, we always recommend that you take out additional insurance with a German insurance company (private or statutory). For statutory health insurance, an employment contract as an HU employee is usually required. Scholarship holders and guest researchers financed by other means usually require private health insurance.

Statutory health insurance consultants

Christopher Manicke

Tel.: (+49 331) 27 72-24632

Tel.: 0800 26 50 80-24632 *)


Julia Melchior

Tel.: 0800 333004 101-241 (0800 = free of charge in Germany)

Mobil: (+49) 151 11 30 28 35


Jessica Meschkat

Tel.: (+49 30) 21 00 273- 11 11

Tel.: (+49 172) 82 55 301


Lutz Matuschke

Tel.: (+49 40) 460 65 10 37 07


Franziska Stiehm

Tel.: (+49 40) 460 65 10 36 68


Finding doctors and other insurance coverage

In the case of minor illnesses such as a cold, flu, minor injuries, etc., your GP is the first point of contact in Germany. If you have specific illnesses, your GP will refer you to a specialist. If you suffer from illnesses that are also treated by a specialist in your home country, you can contact one directly without consulting your GP in advance.

Generally speaking, you decide for yourself which doctor's office or hospital you would like to be treated in, as long as they accept your health insurance. Please find out in advance whether your health insurance is recognised by the relevant practice in order to avoid costly medical bills.

Many GPs have open consultation hours, and you can drop in without making an appointment. However, if you want to avoid long waiting times and are not seriously ill, it is best to contact the practice by telephone in advance to make an appointment. Depending on the practice, you may have to wait several weeks for an appointment (especially with specialists). Please take your insurance card with you every time you visit the doctor – it must be scanned every quarter.

If you have private insurance, you must transfer an invoice amount, which will then be reimbursed to you by the insurance company.

In Germany, you can only buy medications in pharmacies. Some medications, such as headache tablets, are available over the counter (without a prescription). However, most medications require a prescription from a doctor. Statutory health insurance usually covers part of the costs of prescription medications. Sometimes, you have to pay a prescription fee at the pharmacy and a private co-payment may also be required.

If you become ill in the middle of the night, on the weekend or on a public holiday, emergency services and night pharmacies are always available. In urgent cases, patients can receive competent medical advice around the clock by calling (030) 116117. If you need immediate help, you can also go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital. In the event of a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate assistance, call emergency services on 112.

For psychological and/or pastoral counselling, you can contact the following institutions:

Humboldt-Universität: Mental Wellness for Students

Studierendenwerk Berlin: Psychotherapeutic Counselling

Please check what benefits your health insurance offers in the event of accidents during your free time. If you would like additional benefits, it is possible to take out additional recreational accident insurance.

Rather than health, this insurance focuses on another important form of insurance coverage: We generally recommend taking out private liability insurance for your entire stay in Germany. This for situation where you cause damage to third parties in your home or elsewhere. Small damage can often lead to major costs, which is why this insurance is by far one of the most important insurance policies.