Advisor for international doctoral candidates and researchers
Service for international researchers
Germany has two different health insurance systems: state (statutory/public) insurance and private health insurance. The occupational group (for example civil servants or freelancers) and the annual employment income determine whether a person is eligible for private health insurance. If the income is below the upper income limit ("Jahresarbeitsentgeltgrenze"), which is fixed on a yearly basis, employees are covered by statutory public health insurance; if it is above that limit, employees can opt for private health insurance.
In Germany, health insurance coverage is mandatory for all visiting researchers and family members accompanying them. We strongly recommend that you contact the insurance provider of your choice in good time to clarify any questions and issues you may have in advance and to ensure that you are insured from the very first day of your stay in Germany.
Contributions to statutory public health insurance are legally stipulated and uniform rates that apply throughout Germany. They are deducted from an employee's gross salary by the employer. As of 2015, the contributions are 14,6 percent of income with 7,3 percent paid by the employer and employee, respectively. The range of medical services this insurance comprises hardly varies from provider to provider, differing only in terms of customer service, additional (voluntary) services or optional services for an additional charge. Many health insurance providers charge an additional contribution (Zusatzbeitrag) to the 14,6 percent that varies depending on the provider, and which is fully paid by the employee.
You have free choice of health insurance provider. Before signing up with one it is important to compare terms and benefits carefully to find the health insurance provider that best suits your individual needs. If you wish to bring your family with you to Germany (spouse, children), they can be covered by your health insurance with no extra charge (Familienversicherung, family health insurance). Even if your spouse and children do not live with you in Germany you can still obtain family health insurance for them if they live in a country with which Germany has a social security agreement.
Unlike with private health insurance, it is your health insurance provider that will be billed for any medical treatment you receive (unless it is a medical service that is not covered by your health insurance provider). All you need if you go to a doctor is your electronic Health Insurance Card (eHealth Card, or elektronische Gesundheitskarte), with the words European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) printed on its reserve. This insurance card is issued only by statutory health insurance providers. It is valid not only in Germany but can also simplify the process for receiving treatment during temporary visits abroad within Europe. You will be eligible for medical treatment in any other EU member state, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, and to the same extent as residents of those countries. The costs will be paid at the same rate as they would if incurred at home, but if the costs exceed that amount you must pay the difference.
Unlike contributions to statutory public health insurance, contributions to private health insurance are not based on income level but on age, gender, profession, current health status, and the range of services you wish to receive. The more services, the higher the contributions are.
As a private patient, you will receive a bill for medical costs from your doctor. You pay the bill first and then submit the invoice to your health insurance provider, who will then reimburse you. Unlike statutory public health insurance, private health insurance does not include free family health insurance but will require contributions for each family member (spouse, children).
Depending on whether you are staying in Oldenburg within the framework of an employment contract or a scholarship, different regulations apply:
If your stay in Germany is based on an employment contract, you will automatically be covered by statutory public health insurance. Under the laws and regulations of social security insurance, employees are insured in the country of employment even if they live abroad, for example in a neighbouring country. Exemptions apply for workers posted from an EU member state who live and work in another EU member state on a temporary basis. Complete an A1 form (formerly E 101) to apply to remain insured in your home country (provided by europa.eu).
If your scholarship or fellowship does not include health insurance coverage, you may usually only apply for private insurance (in the case of prior statutory insurance, voluntary statutory insurance may also be considered if applicable).