October 9, 2023

The Differences Between Public and Private Insurance in Germany

By Deepthi Kurian

The exciting adventure of studying abroad is not without its share of challenges. One such challenge is understanding the complexities of health insurance, particularly for students in Germany. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the importance of health insurance and the differences between public and private insurance in Germany.


Why Health Insurance is Important?

Studying abroad is a transformative experience, offering new horizons and endless opportunities for personal and academic growth. However, amidst the excitement of exploring a new culture and pursuing your dreams, the importance of health insurance often gets overlooked. Here's why having proper health insurance is not just a legal requirement but an essential aspect of your life as an international student in Germany:

Check out the video on the best Public & Private Insurances in Germany for students.


Access to Quality Healthcare

Living in a foreign country can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to healthcare. Having health insurance provides peace of mind, knowing that you are covered in case of illness, accidents, or any unforeseen medical circumstances.

Health insurance grants you access to a robust healthcare system in Germany, renowned for its high standards of medical care and advanced technologies. With insurance, you can consult experienced doctors, undergo necessary medical tests, and receive specialized treatments, ensuring that your health is in good hands.


Financial Security

Medical expenses can quickly escalate, especially in emergencies or if you require specialized treatments. Without insurance, these costs could burden you financially, potentially disrupting your studies or forcing you to compromise your well-being. Health insurance acts as a financial safety net, covering a significant portion of your medical expenses and allowing you to focus on your education without worrying about hefty bills.

This assurance allows you to focus on your studies, build meaningful connections, and immerse yourself fully in the student experience without the constant worry about healthcare expenses.


Mandatory Enrollment Requirement

Health insurance is a mandatory requirement for enrolling in a German university. Without a valid insurance certificate, you cannot complete your enrollment process, attend classes, or access university facilities. Thus, having health insurance is the key that unlocks the door to your academic pursuits in Germany.

It also ensures that you are in compliance with German law, demonstrating your commitment to being a responsible and law-abiding international student.


Comprehensive Coverage

Health insurance not only covers essential medical services but also includes general and dental care. Regular check-ups and dental visits are crucial for your overall well-being, and insurance ensures you can maintain your health through preventive measures. Whether it's a routine dental cleaning or a necessary vaccination, your insurance will support these aspects of your health.

When choosing health insurance in Germany, one can opt for either public or private insurance. Let's explore the differences between the two.


Public vs Private Insurance: Understanding the Differences

Choosing between public and private health insurance can be a pivotal decision for international students in Germany. Each option has its own set of advantages and considerations, and understanding these differences is crucial for making an informed choice that aligns with your needs and preferences.


Public Health Insurance: Affordable and Comprehensive


Eligibility and Affordability

Public health insurance is the go-to option for most international students under the age of 30. It offers a comprehensive package that covers general medical and dental care. The monthly premiums are based on your income if you work in Germany or your age if you are not employed. This income-based system ensures that students with limited financial resources can access quality healthcare without straining their budgets.


Comprehensive Coverage

Public insurance provides coverage for a wide range of medical services, including doctor consultations, hospital stays, prescription medications, and preventive care. Dental care, although basic, is also included. This comprehensive coverage ensures that you have access to essential healthcare services without worrying about significant out-of-pocket expenses.


Simplicity and Convenience

One of the primary advantages of public insurance is its simplicity. With a valid insurance card, you can easily access medical services without any complicated paperwork. The insurance company handles the administrative aspects, including billing and claims, allowing you to focus on your studies without getting bogged down by administrative tasks.


Family Inclusion

Public insurance offers the flexibility to include family members without additional charges, making it an attractive choice for students with spouses or children. This inclusivity ensures that your entire family can access healthcare services without additional financial strain.


Private Health Insurance: Swift Access and Additional Benefits


Expedited Services

Private health insurance offers expedited access to medical care. This means shorter waiting times for doctor appointments, specialist consultations, and diagnostic tests. If you value quick and efficient healthcare services, private insurance might be a suitable option.


Additional Benefits and Customization

Private insurance plans often come with additional benefits, such as coverage for alternative therapies, private hospital rooms, and more extensive dental services. Moreover, private insurance allows for greater customization. You can tailor your plan to include specific services or treatments that align with your health needs.


Claims and Paperwork

Unlike public insurance, private insurance requires more active involvement in the claims process. You will be responsible for managing paperwork, submitting claims, and coordinating payments with healthcare providers. While this allows for more personalized services, it also means you need to be proactive in managing your insurance-related tasks.


Age and Qualification Criteria

Private insurance becomes the primary option for students who are over 30 years old or have completed 14 semesters of study. These criteria make private insurance the choice for older students who might require different coverage options or more specialized services.



In summary, the choice between public and private health insurance ultimately depends on your individual circumstances, preferences, and financial considerations.

Public insurance offers affordable and comprehensive coverage, especially suitable for younger students and families. Private insurance, while pricier, provides expedited services and customization options, making it attractive for older students and those who prioritize additional benefits and tailored healthcare solutions.


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