Health Insurance

Krankenversicherung (Image: Lothar Drechsel / istock.com)

Students are required by law to provide proof of sufficient health insurance coverage at the time of enrollment and to maintain this cover during their studies. PhD students and incoming scholars are obliged to take out health insurance for themselves and their accompanying family members.

Health Insurance for International Students

In Germany, there are two kinds of health insurance, statutory / public and private health insurance.

All students are generally required to be insured with a German statutory health insurance, i.e. they must join a statutory health insurance. Under certain conditions, however, it is possible to be actively exempted from compulsory insurance and instead join a private health insurance company. When you enroll, you have to decide whether you want statutory or private health insurance. This decision is binding for the duration of your studies. The health insurance status must be maintained for the duration of your studies.

Every student who has the opportunity to be accepted into statutory health insurance should use this option in order to be covered in the event of illness, a doctor or hospital visit or, if applicable, an existing pre-existing illness.

If you decide to take out private health insurance, we strongly advise against opting for the cheapest tariff.

Students over the age of 30, PhD students and participants in a German language course must take out private health insurance. Please scroll down and read the specific information for your specific situation.

EU-/EEA-citizens and citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Morocco, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Switzerland, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland may be able to remain insured in their home country. Please scroll down and read the specific information for your home country.

+ How can I prove my health insurance status for enrollment?

In order to enroll at TH Köln, a statutory health insurance company in Germany must digitally report to TH Köln, which insurance status you have in Germany. A distinction is made as to whether you have statutory or private insurance.

Please inform a statutory health insurance company that you would like to study at TH Köln. As soon as you are insured, your health insurance company will send a corresponding notification to TH Köln. To speed up the process, please tell the health insurance company the "sender ID number" (Absendernummer) of TH Köln: H0000253.

If you are privately insured or insured in your home country, you must also notify a statutory health insurance company in Germany so that a notification of your health insurance status can be made to the university.

The insurance card (EHIC) or a written membership certificate of a health insurance company are not sufficient for enrollment. You cannot be enrolled without the electronic notification of a statutory health insurance company to TH Köln

Please note: Travel health insurance is not sufficient for this purpose, it only provides coverage for entry and the first few days in the country.

+ I would like to take out statutory health insurance in Germany, or I already have statutory health insurance. What do I have to do?

Please contact your chosen statutory health insurance company by e-mail and submit a membership application. You can start this process already from abroad.

Please inform the health insurance company that you would like to study at TH Köln. As soon as you are insured, your health insurance company will send a corresponding notification to TH Köln. To speed up the process, please tell the health insurance company the "sender ID number" (Absendernummer) of TH Köln: H0000253.

+ I come from a country in the EU / the EEA or Switzerland and am insured there. What do I have to do?

If you have health insurance in your home country, then you can have a German statutory health insurance company certify that you are not subject to compulsory insurance in Germany. The health insurance company will report this to TH Köln.

Note: If you take up a job during your studies (e.g. mini-job, working student, marginal employment, internship, etc.) or receive German financial aid (Bafög, scholarships), you must take out health insurance in Germany. (Exceptions: If you are insured in Denmark, Luxembourg or Austria, you can remain insured in your home country even if you take up employment in Germany.)

This is how you proceed:
Please send an email to your chosen health insurance company with the following documents:

  • A copy of your EHIC
  • A copy of your identity card / passport
  • Your German address (alternatively your home address)
  • Indication of the university you wish to attend: TH Köln. To speed up the process, please give the health insurance company the "sender ID number" (Absendernummer) of TH Köln: H0000253.

Your health insurance company will now send a notification to the TH Köln that you fulfill the insurance obligation.

+ I come from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Morocco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey or Tunisia. What do I have to do?

Germany has signed bilateral social security agreements with some countries. If you have statutory health insurance in your home country, you can have this insurance coverage recognized by a statutory health insurance company in Germany and you can be exempted from compulsory insurance with a German statutory health insurance company. You can have a certificate issued by your health insurance company before you leave.
Find out which medical services are covered in Germany by your insurer.

Note: If you take up a job during your studies (e.g. mini-job, working student, marginal employment, internship, etc.) or receive German financial aid (Bafög, scholarships), you must take out health insurance in Germany.

This is how you proceed:
Please send an email to your chosen health insurance company with the following documents:

  • A copy of your insurance certificate
  • A copy of your identity card / passport
  • Your German address (alternatively your home address)
  • Indication of the university you wish to attend: TH Köln. To speed up the process, please give the health insurance company the "sender ID number" (Absendernummer) of TH Köln: H0000253.

Your health insurance company will now send a notification to the TH Köln that you fulfill the insurance obligation.

+ I live in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. What do I have to do?

If you are ordinarily resident in the UK and are not insured by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you are likely to be considered insured by the UK and will be entitled to a GHIC. Please check with the NHS for more information.

Your GHIC will allow you to get medically necessary healthcare until the end of your study period.

Note: If you take up a job during your studies (e.g. mini-job, working student, marginal employment, internship, etc.) or receive German financial aid (Bafög, scholarships), you must take out health insurance in Germany.

This is how you proceed:
Please send an email to your chosen health insurance company with the following documents:

  • A copy of your GHIC
  • A copy of your identity card / passport
  • Your German address (alternatively your home address)
  • Indication of the university you wish to attend: TH Köln. To speed up the process, please give the health insurance company the "sender ID number" (Absendernummer) of TH Köln: H0000253.

Your health insurance company will now send a notification to the TH Köln that you fulfill the insurance obligation.

+ I would like to take out private insurance in Germany, or I already have private insurance. What do I have to do?

If you would like to take out private health insurance or already have private health insurance, you must officially exempt yourself from compulsory insurance. You can obtain the application from a statutory health insurance company.

Please keep in mind: Once you have opted for private health insurance, your decision is binding for the duration of your studies. It is not possible to switch back to statutory health insurance during this period.

Every student who has the opportunity to be accepted into statutory health insurance should use this option in order to be covered in the event of illness, a doctor or hospital visit or, if applicable, an existing pre-existing illness.

In principle, an application for exemption from compulsory health insurance can be submitted a maximum of 3 months after the start of the semester (March 01/September 01).

This is how you proceed:
Please submit the following documents to your chosen statutory health insurance company via email.

  • A copy of your private insurance
  • A copy of your identity card / passport
  • Your German address (alternatively your home address)
  • Indication of the university you wish to attend: TH Köln. To speed up the process, please give the health insurance company the "sender ID number" (Absendernummer) of TH Köln: H0000253.
  • Application for exemption. (This only applies to persons who have not yet reached the age of 30. Please have the application sent to you by your chosen statutory health insurance company.)

Your chosen statutory health insurance will check whether your private insurance is recognized as health insurance. Please note that the quality of your private health insurance is not checked. It is therefore possible that the insurance is recognized, and yet benefits are not covered and you have to pay for them yourself. If the private insurance is not recognized, the statutory health insurance company will inform you of your options.

Your chosen statutory health insurance company will now send a notification of your insurance status to TH Köln.

+ What do I have to consider when I turn 30 or if I am already over 30?

Please note that the student statutory health insurance only applies until your 30th birthday. After that, you have to take out voluntary statutory or private insurance for your studies.

If you are already 30 years old when you begin your studies in Germany, you must take out private insurance and maintain your insurance coverage during your studies at TH Köln.

When looking for private health insurance, make sure that the same medical services are covered as with statutory health insurance. If you decide to take out private health insurance, we strongly advise against opting for the cheapest tariff.

Please continue reading under "I would like to take out private insurance in Germany, or I already have private insurance. What do I have to do?".

+ I have foreign private health insurance, is it recognized in Germany?

If you have private health insurance from another country, please clarify with your insurance company which services are covered in Germany before you start your stay. Consult a German statutory health insurance company before enrolling. They will check whether your insurance coverage is sufficient.

Every student who has the opportunity to be accepted into statutory health insurance should use this option in order to be covered in the event of illness, a doctor or hospital visit or, if applicable, an existing pre-existing illness.

Please continue reading under "I would like to take out private insurance in Germany, or I already have private insurance. What do I have to do?".

+ I am a PhD Student or a participant in a German language course.

If you are a PhD student or a participant in a German language course, you must take out private insurance and maintain your insurance coverage during your studies at TH Köln.

We recommend that graduates of the preparatory German courses change from private to statutory health insurance when enrolling in a degree program.

When looking for private health insurance, make sure that the same medical services are covered as with statutory health insurance. If you decide to take out private health insurance, we strongly advise against opting for the cheapest tariff.

Please continue reading under "I would like to take out private insurance in Germany, or I already have private insurance. What do I have to do?".

Health Insurance for International Scholars

Note: students with a scholarship, please refer to the information provided above for international students. For the application of the visa and the first days of your stay, it is sufficient to take out a travel health insurance. However, you must have proof of health insurance for the entire time of your stay when you apply for your resident permit in Germany. That is why it makes sense to deal with your insurance coverage before you enter Germany and take out health insurance in Germany if needed.

+ I would like to be insured in Germany. What are my options?

In Germany there are two types of health insurance: statutory health insurance and private health insurance.

Statutory health insurance

International scholars are obligated to take out statutory health insurance if they are employed with a German employment contract in Germany.

An employment contract is also an important requirement to be able to be insured by statutory health insurance as an international scholar.

If you have statutory health insurance in Germany, you have the option of also ensuring family members. Statutory health insurers in Germany can give you information.

Private health insurance

Guest scholars who finance the stay themselves or enter Germany with a grant normally only have the option of insuring themselves and their family members by a private health insurance policy for the duration of their stay.

Contributions for private health insurance are normally based on your age, profession, health condition and the benefits that you would like to have insured.

If you go to a doctor’s office in Germany, you will receive a private invoice that you first have to pay and then submit to your private health insurance company for reimbursement. If you are unsure of which benefits your health insurance will cover, please contact your health insurance company before a treatment or a hospital stay.

Persons with pre-existing conditions have to prepare themselves for the fact that their pre-existing conditions are normally excluded from private health insurance in Germany. You yourself have to cover all costs resulting from treatment of a pre-existing condition. The same applies to pregnancy checks and deliveries. Private health insurance policies normally do not cover any costs if the pregnancy began before you entered Germany.

It is recommended that persons with pre-existing conditions supply themselves with sufficient medications before they come to Germany as well as a doctor’s letter proving that it is necessary to import the medications into Germany. This helps you save money and avoid problems when you enter Germany.

+ I come from a country in the European Union/the European Economic Area or Switzerland and am insured there.

If you are mandatorily insured in an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you can use your European health insurance card (EHIC) to take advantage of all medically necessary benefits from all participating physicians in statutory insurance policies (also known as “panel physicians”). To do so, you select an assisting German statutory health insurance policy at your first medical appointment for the duration of your stay.

You will receive a private medical invoice if you take advantage of health services that are not regarded as medically necessary benefits under German law. Normally, these kinds of invoices will also not be reimbursed by your insurance company in your home country. A return hospital transport to your home country will not be covered by your insurance policy in your home country either. It is recommended to take out additional travel health insurance to secure these benefits.

If you specifically entered Germany for the purpose of medical treatment, these services cannot be used on the basis of your EHIC. If you have impending medical treatments before your departure, especially hospital services, we recommend that you discuss this in advance with your health insurance company in your home country.

Since there is a Social Security agreement between your home country and Germany and you are only staying in Germany temporarily (temporarily relocated for up to 24 months), you also need an A1 certificate from your health insurance company at home or Social Security authority.

+ I come from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Morocco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey or Tunisia and am insured there.

In this case, please contact your health insurance company in your home country, and verify whether your health insurance covers services in Germany and which services your health insurance covers in Germany as well as which forms you need to be able to use these kinds of services.

+ I have a foreign, private health insurance policy. Will it be recognized in Germany?

If you have a private health insurance policy from your home country, please verify with your insurance company before your stay starts which services are covered in Germany and have it confirmed in writing. As soon as you have arrived, take your documents to a German statutory health insurance company. If the insurance coverage is insufficient, you must take out additional insurance. 

Starting on:

  • July 25, 2024, 14.00 - Web-Seminar for international students
  • August 06, 2024, 14.00 - Web-Seminar for international students
  • August 22, 2024, 14.00 - Web-Seminar for international students
  • September 04, 2024, 14.00 - Web-Seminar for international students
  • November 21, 2024, 17.00 - Information Event
  • Team International Degree-Seeking Students


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