HEALTH INSURANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN GERMANY A
WELCOME TO GERMANY! Whenever you study abroad, there’s so much to think about: getting there, accommodation, course options, finance, language courses . . . While health insurance may not feel like the most pressing issue, it is a requirement in Germany, and your chosen university will ask you to provide proof that you are insured. At AOK NORDWEST, we want to help you get off to a good start to your time abroad, which means working with you to find the best solutions for your healthcare needs. And we’re here to make the transition as easy as possible. In this brochure, we’ve put together useful information to give you an overview of how healthcare in Germany works, the insurance options available to you, and where you can find more information.
YOU’RE IN GERMANY: WHAT NEXT? Regardless of your healthcare coverage or status, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with German healthcare services once you arrive. This includes knowing who to call, how to spot phar- macies, hospitals and first aid signs when you’re out and about. These resources are essential when you get sick or have a medical emergency, but are also points of access for arranging check-ups and healthcare options to help prevent you from getting sick. KNOWING THE BASICS WHAT IF I REQUIRE IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION? Call 112 if you need an ambulance. Emergency services are covered by public and private health insurance. For urgent medical treatment, you can also go to A&E or the ER (Notaufnahme) for first aid. WHAT IF I GET SICK DURING MY TIME ABROAD? You can always make an appointment with a general practitioner (Hausarzt) or a specialist (Facharzt), and there’s no time like the present. If you are publicly insured, be sure to let the doctor know this when you make your appointment, and don’t forget your health insurance card. APOTHEKE VS. DROGERIE: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? When you receive a prescription, you take it to a pharmacy (Apotheke) as opposed to a drugstore (Drogerie), which primarily stocks bathroom, hygiene and household articles. The pharmacy is also the place to go for non-prescription medication. Hospital First aid International pharmacy WHO TO CALL 112 116 117 192 40 110 All emergency services (ambulance, fire and rescue, police) Medical non-emergency (doctor on call) Toxic substance emergency Police 0800 265 5000 Free 24-hour AOK hotline 3
FOUR HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS As a student coming to Germany, there are four ways to be covered: Health insurance is available to everyone with German residency, whether you’re an EU citizen or here on a student visa. It is impor- tant to find out if your home country’s healthcare services provide you with coverage while studying abroad. DID YOU KNOW? If you are not from the EU, your country may have a bilateral healthcare agreement with Germany. If so, you can easily obtain a “medical treatment voucher” from a German health insurance company by presenting proof of your health insurance. Use this voucher just as you would the European Health Insurance Card. GERMAN PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE (GKV) The most prevalent healthcare option, used by 90 per cent of Germany’s permanent residents. See pages 5–7 for more information. GERMAN PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE (PKV) Second most prevalent healthcare option, covers 10 per cent of Germany’s permanent residents. See page 5 for more information. THE EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD (EHIC) This is available to students from a European Union country or Switzerland. All you need is a valid European Health Insurance Card. The European Health Insurance Card (pictured on this page) gives you direct access to medical services in Germany. PRIVATE COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE FROM ABROAD Whether or not private health insurance from abroad is sufficient for studying at a German university will be assessed on a case-by- case basis before matriculation. However, even valid insurance will not provide full coverage during your time abroad. For more information, make an appointment at the international office at your university or go to a public health insurance provider.
PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Public and private health insurance are the most readily recog- nised forms of coverage in Germany. If you don’t have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or equivalent, you will need to choose one of these options in order to enrol at university. Around one in ten people in Germany are privately insured. If you opt against private health insurance or don’t have the European Health Insurance Card, you will need public health insurance. The vast majority of people in Germany are publicly insured. YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PUBLIC STUDENT HEALTH INSURANCE: • If you are under 30 years of age when you start studying in Germany • If you haven’t applied to a public health insurance company to release you from your health insurance obligations as a student PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE Provided by self-governing public sector companies Flat-rate payments plus individual contributions Provided by commercial companies Costs may differ from student to student No prior risk assessment Risk assessment prior to signing contract No prior health check-up Health check-up prior to signing contract Monthly coverage contribution Monthly coverage contribution No additional up-front costs* Bills paid out of pocket and reimbursed * Exception: co-payments of up to 10 EUR per prescription 5
BENEFITS OF PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE WHO COVERS PRESCRIPTION COSTS FOR HEALTHCARE RECIPIENTS? • You cannot be denied coverage based on your health status • The state largely dictates the range of benefits, which means you are guaranteed high-quality care • Health, age, income, or employment status do not affect contributions • By presenting your public health insurance card, bills are sent directly to your provider rather than to you • You can choose your doctor, dentist, and hospital yourself, bearing in mind that they need to be approved by your public health insurance company • Most public health insurance companies will let you apply for coverage online Private prescription costs are paid in full by the patient and then reimbursed by the private insurance company. If you’re insured under the public system, health insurance companies will cover the majority of the costs for most prescribed items. As a student, you will contribute a maximum of 10 EUR toward your prescribed medication, unless it costs less than 5 EUR. In this case you will cover the costs yourself. DID YOU KNOW? Pharmacy employees can readily identify your healthcare status based on the colour of your prescription. Prescriptions for public health care treatments requiring small additional payments are red. Blue or green prescriptions are issued for privately payable treatments. Costs in these cases will not be covered or reimbursed by public health insurance companies. 6
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF PUBLIC HEALTHCARE INSURANCE DENTAL CARE Public health insurance companies cover 100 per cent of the cost of most standard dental treatments and pay fixed sums for dentures. You can increase the fixed sum you are entitled to by presenting your bonus booklet at regular preventative check-ups. THERAPIES AND AIDS Public health insurance provides many types of therapy, treat- ments and medical aids to assist with and prevent disabilities. These also make sure treatments are successful. You will have to contribute 10 per cent of the costs plus between 5 EUR and 10 EUR per prescription. Public health insurance will supplement the cost of: • Physiotherapy • Massages • Hearing and visual aids • Various other medications and treatments DID YOU KNOW? Around 70.3 million people in Germany have public health insurance. About one-third of these are with AOK, one of Germany’s largest health insurance companies.
AOK NORDWEST OFFERS YOU: • Individual advice delivered by more than 7,600 highly qualified staff • Customer services hotlines in a range of languages • Downloadable apps to encourage you to eat well and stay fit • Affordable premiums • Long opening hours and quick, efficient help whenever needed • A comprehensive programme to promote healthy living • AOK navigators to help find the right healthcare services in your area AOK NORDWEST WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED Your partner in healthcare, AOK NORDWEST is one of 11 regional branches of the non-profit umbrella organisation AOK, which has been guaranteeing access to comprehensive high-quality medical care in Germany for over 130 years. We are part of a vast network of more than 54,000 professionals, including doctors, dentists, nurses, paramedics and administrators, who work tirelessly to ensure you have everything you need when you need it. AOK NORDWEST is one of Germany’s most trusted public health insurance providers, as well as the largest public health company in the Westfalen-Lippe and Schleswig-Holstein regions. We pride ourselves on upholding the values and successes of our parent organisation and have a long-standing tradition of delivering health, security and solidarity — reflected in lower contributions for our policy holders in 2021. .. . AND MUCH MORE! For a comprehensive list of our services and where to find them online, visit us at aok.de/nw/students 8
AOK NORDWEST: JUST FOR STUDENTS AOK NORDWEST wants to give you the best possible start to your time in Germany. That’s why, in addition to our regular services and benefits, we provide every student we insure with: • Help finding a doctor that speaks your language • Textbook downloads • Access to AOK student services, which will help with your paperwork • Access to online seminars, i.e. on successful learning, your work-life balance, etc. • Ongoing support to help you overcome all hurdles relating to insurance during your studies 9
ADDITIONAL AOK SERVICES CONTRIBUTIONS As you know, AOK NORDWEST is the most popular health insurance company for young people, as it offers a whole host of benefits. Invest in your health now with us and the 500 EUR Gesundheits- budget: At AOK NORDWEST, we know that the last thing you want to worry about when you’re studying abroad is money. If you are eligible for public student health insurance and opt for AOK NORDWEST, you will contribute a certain amount per month: • Professional teeth cleaning • Travel vaccinations • Osteopathy • Homeopathic remedies • Pregnancy with all-round care Use your annual Gesundheitsbudget to suit your needs – we will reimburse 80 per cent of the costs and up to two times 50 EUR per year for professional teeth cleaning. Students currently pay 86.63 EUR per month with AOK NORDWEST. People with statutory health insurance must also pay a nursing care premium of 22.94 EUR per month (this increases by an extra 1.88 EUR per month for people aged 23 or over and who do not have children). Present your AOK health card to your doctor, dentist or hospital to pay for check-ups, treatments and aids. 10
APPLY TODAY! If you’ve made up your mind and want to take out insurance with AOK NORDWEST, all you have to do is fill out the online contact form. We’ll take care of the rest. To fill out our online form, visit: foreignstudents.aok.de HELPFUL RESOURCES Visit the links below to help you get the most out of being insured with AOK NORDWEST. • AOK services for students aok.de/nw/students • Information for foreign students foreignstudents.aok.de • AOK Portal aok.de/nw 11
CONTACT DISCLAIMER AOK NORDWEST Telephone: 0800 265 5000 Contact us at: https://www.aok.de/pk/nordwest/ kontakt/kontaktformular/ The information contained in this brochure is provided as is and without any guarantees of any kind, whether expressed or im- plied, including but not limited to, implied guarantees of satisfac- tory quality, ﬁtness for a particular purpose and/or correctness. The contents of this brochure are for general information pur- poses only and do not constitute advice. AOK NORDWEST neither represents nor guarantees that the information contained in this brochure is accurate, complete or current. Use and/or reproducti- on of any content presented in this brochure is strictly prohibited. At your service We have the most extensive and tightly-knit network of customer service points there is! And our round-the-clock hotline is always there for you: 0800 265 5000 Stay informed about your health and ﬁtness online at aok.de/nw or visit our online service centre at nordwest.meine.aok.de AOK NORDWEST – Your health in the best hands. H A _ 1 2 0 2 4 3 0 A