Students at German universities are required by law to be members of a statutory health insurance fund. This is checked during enrolment. The university must be informed immediately of any changes in insurance status!
Statutory health insurance
In principle, every resident in Germany under the age of 30 is subject to compulsory insurance in a statutory health insurance fund. In Germany, there is not only one large state health insurance company, but a large number of statutory health insurance companies (e.g. TK, AOK, Barmer etc.) which are organised as public corporations and compete with each other. Health insurance can be freely chosen. Any statutory health insurance is accepted for the enrolment at Paderborn University. The Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) has a service office on campus in the ME building. You can apply for a membership mostly online via their webpages.In addition, an application for membership is also possible online via special relocation services for international students. A short internet search should lead you to a suitable provider.
Starting studies after the age of 30
Students who are over 30 years old when they start their studies are unfortunately no longer covered by the statutory health insurance. Only membership in a private health insurance is possible. In this case, please have a statutory health insurance company certify that you are not subject to compulsory health insurance and submit the certificate to the university.
Continuing your studies after the age of 30
Until you reach the age of 30, you are obliged to take out statutory health insurance. As a student you can also take benefit from a reduced membership contribution. After the age of 30, the special students membership is unfortunately no longer possible. However, the statutory insurance can be continued voluntarily with a higher contribution. If you do not wish to remain a member of a statutory health insurance fund, you must have the statutory health insurance fund certify that you are no longer subject to compulsory health insurance and submit this certificate to the university. Even if you are from the age of 30 no longer subject to compulsory health insurance and free to choose your health insurance, we strongly recommend to stay with a statutory option or at least to take out private health insurance with cover that is based on the benefits provided by statutory health insurance. In addition, you should note that the Foreigners’ Registration Office for the granting and extension of a residence permit usually requires proof of health insurance.
Exceptions from the statutory health insurance obligation (e.g. EHIC)
If you have sufficient private health insurance, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or if there is a social security agreement between your country of origin and the Federal Republic of Germany, you do not have to take out statutory health insurance. However, you must apply for a certificate confirming that you are not subject to compulsory insurance with a statutory health insurance fund. When applying, you usually have to present your passport and an appropriate proof of your alternative insurance cover (private insurance contract, EHIC or form of the respective social security agree ment). The respective statutory health insurance company will then check whether an exemption from compulsory health insurance is possible. If the insurance cover is sufficient, you will receive the "not (statutorily) insured certificate" issued to you, which you must then submit to the university for enrolment. The submission of further documents ( e.g. the insurance contract) is not necessary for enrolment at the university, as the verification of the respective insurance is the responsibility of the statutory health insurance companies.
Information on choosing a private health insurance
There are many insurance companies and relocation services on the market that offer products for international degree seeking students and participants in a full time German language course. With a little internet research, you should be able to quickly find an appropriate provider. It is generally not recommended to choose the cheapest offer. If you want to have coverage that is at least close to the coverage of a statutory health insurance, you should definitely choose a premium option, which usually costs around 60-80 euros per month. When choosing, you should bear in mind that many insurance policies exclude benefits for illnesses that were already present before you entered Germany. In addition, the maximum insurance term is usually limited, which may mean that you have to look for a new insurance policy if you have not completed your studies by then. In such a case, your only option is to apply for a regular private health insurance policy, which Germans can also choose as an alternative to statutory health insurance under certain conditions. There is no entitlement to membership in a private health insurance scheme. In particular, if you have pre-existing conditions, it is likely that your admission will not be accepted. If you decide to take out private health insurance, you must submit the insurance contract to a statutory health insurance fund for examination. If you have sufficient private insurance cover, you can be exempted from the statutory insurance obligation. Please note that you will then not be able to switch back to a statutory health insurance fund for the whole duration of your studies!
Changing health insurance
At the beginning of your studies, you have to choose between private and statutory health insurance. It is only possible to change between these two systems during your studies except of a few exceptional cases (e.g. if you get married, etc.). If you have opted for statutory health insurance, you can only change to another statutory health insurance during your studies. The only possibility for leaving is after you have reached the age of 30. If you have opted for a private health insurance company, there is usually no possibility of changing to a statutory health insurance company. Membership in a statutory health insurance is only possible after the end of studies again.
Change into the statutory health insurance after the completion of a German language course
When you are switching after the succesfull completion of a study preparatory German language course to a degree programs, you have the chance to become a member in a statutory health insurance fund. If you do not apply at this point of time, you will not be able to change to a statutory health insurance during the whole duration of your studies. There is no 2nd chance! We recommend that you seek advice from a statutory health insurance company in this regard. If you nevertheless choose a private health insurance and want to enroll for a degree program, you have to present the "Befreiungsbescheinigung von der Krankenversicherungspflicht " (certificate of exemption from compulsory health insurance) of a statutory health insurance during the enrolment. This proves to the university that the private health insurance coverage is sufficient for enrollment at the university in accordance with the regulations of the German social code V.