Unfortunately, signing up for health insurance as a PhD student or researcher in Germany is not always straightforward. There are a number of scenarios to take into account.

This article is only for people moving to Germany from the EU. If you're moving from outside the EU, please see our other article.

If you're under 30 years old...

  • Without an income or stipend: If you are not earning an income or stipend from your university, then signing up for health insurance is simple. You would sign up for public health insurance like a regular university student. In this case, you can take advantage of the student insurance offer, which is around €104/month.

  • With an employment contract: If you're employed by your university (e.g. for part-time work or as a teaching assistant) then you can generally sign up as a salaried employee. In this case, your university or research institution will act as your employer and pay for half of your monthly healthcare costs. If, however, you are earning less than €450/month, then you cannot sign up for public health insurance. In this case, check if you qualify for the student rate (as mentioned above) or sign up for expat health insurance.

  • With a stipend: You unfortunately cannot take advantage of the student offer if you have a stipend, but you also are not considered an employee. In this case, you'll either have to voluntarily sign up with a public insurer (tell them you want to become freiwillig versichert, in which case you must sign up within your first three months of arriving to Germany and you'll need to provide an E-104 form from your previous European public health insurance provider). You may also consider expat health insurance.

If you're over 30 years old...

  • Without an income or stipend: If you're over 30, you are no longer eligible for the student offer. If you were insured publicly in an EU country before moving to Germany, you can register for public health insurance as a "voluntary member". This is called being freiwillig versichert and you'll need to get an E-104 form filled out by your doctor in your previous country of residence. Depending on your circumstances, we may also recommend expat health insurance. If you complete your studies and get a full-time job in Germany, then you can easily switch from expat health insurance into the public health insurance system then.

  • With an employment contract: If you're employed by your university (e.g. for part-time work or as a teaching assistant) then you can generally sign up as a salaried employee. In this case, your university or research institution will act as your employer and pay for half of your monthly healthcare costs. If, however, you are earning less than €450/month, then you cannot sign up for public health insurance. In this case, becoming freiwillig versichert (as mentioned above) or using expat health insurance is the right option for you.

  • With a stipend of €30.000 or more: You can signup for private health insurance. Private health insurance works for all visa types and visa renewals and can offer the most comprehensive coverage. If you have pre-existing health issues it might be more difficult to apply.


We're here to help

If you have any questions at all, or your specific situation is not listed above, please feel free to drop us a line at: help@feather-insurance.com.

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