Travel Health Insurance For Foreigners in Germany
Regardless of what your intentions to visit a foreign country are, there are certain things you have to get right in order to enjoy your stay in that particular country. One of the fundamentals involved include your health. Anything that relates to your health is something you can’t ignore. Furthermore, you only want to prepare for the worst so that you’ aren’t caught off-guard.
Today, there are different categories of people who frequently visit Germany. These include students, tourists, workers, business individuals, scientists and long term travelers. These people visit Europe for specific reasons, yet they are all tied under one requirement— travel health insurance.
What’s this health insurance anyway?
Firstly, the German health care system is one system in the world that works all round the clock to take care of both German citizens and foreigners who visit the country for specific reasons. That means there is an obligation to have some sort of cover to shield you in case you fall ill while on a visit.
If you are a student, there are stringent rules at the University you intend to enroll in, which outline the fact that it’s mandatory for every student to have health insurance before enrolling for their study programs.
Health insurance in Germany has two components, and you need to understand them before visiting. There is compulsory insurance and private insurance. The compulsory one provides basic protection for all people, regardless of what you went to do in Germany. In order to ensure that every person is able to pay for the insurance, the monthly fees are calculated based on a person’s income. If you earn more, you’ll pay more. If you earn less, you’ll pay less. As for the students, there are even cheaper offers.
On the other hand, private insurance offers individual protection and can be claimed by self-employed persons, clerks, as well as persons with high income earning capacity. The monthly fee charged here is calculated based on the insured person’s age and health status.
Are you a student? Here is where to start
If you want to study in Germany, you must start by checking if there’s social insurance convention between your country and Germany. Such conventions exist between countries who are members of European Union. However, Germany still has some convention with other countries as well. In case you are lucky to find that your country has such a convention with Germany, then it is possible to use the current insurance you are using in your home country.
If such convention does not exist, it is still possible that your former insurance takes care of you when abroad. This also depends with the type of cover you have. Some health insurance policies provide for those who are abroad, meaning you can still enjoy some benefits with your current policy.
Your third option is to consider the possibility of private insurance for foreign countries known as "Auslandskrankenversicherung" in German language. This type of insurance is offered by companies in Germany, as well as those in your home country.
However, it’s beneficial if you worked with a German company because they know the rules and regulations, and they could easily fit your policy to suit the prevailing conditions. You’ll receive an official document to show at the University or boarder entry point.
Here are the most basic things that should be included in your insurance:
- Cost of medicine and pharmaceutical products
- Ambulant and residential medical treatment
- Basic dental treatment
- If you need glasses or lenses, the cover must include all these
- Pregnancy as well as treatment of the newborn
- After accident services
- Transport to the hospital
Are you a worker? Are you seeking to work in Germany?
Since you are looking to work in Germany, it is evident that you’ll stay for a long time, and a good health insurance is obligatory. You don’t want to find yourself in the extreme end when things go wrong.
If you come from countries that have some conventions with Germany, you might find it a little bit easier because special insurance conducts and regulations are already fulfilled. These rules apply regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed. However, if you are employed in Germany and self-employed in your home country, then you can get insured both in Germany and in your home country. Furthermore, you don’t have to get a health insurance in Germany if your term is fixed and does not last more than 12 months. In fact, you don’t even need the E101 form.
However, if you are a foreign worker from a country that is not a member of the European Union, you need to get a health insurance in Germany, and this scenario does not depend on the length of your stay. If you want to get a compulsory health insurance, you need to get a resident permit, plus a working permit for Germany. You can apply for all these at your German embassy.
Are you a tourist or researcher? Private insurance tips for you
Again, private insurance is calculated based on age and health status of the insured person. The idea is to pay for your own risk. Private insurance offers the possibility of several benefits to the insured. However, private insurance for both foreign workers/scientists/tourists can prove to be a problem sometimes. They may require a minimum stay in Germany, or they may only allow those who have been members of their company for a long period. But if you search carefully, you might just find a private insurance company that offers special contracts to foreigners who are visiting for the first time.
Offers often include bonus such as free transport back home. This is very important to every foreigner visiting Germany because it covers any serious injury or death occurring when in Germany.
Whether you are a working individual or a scientist doing research in Germany, you should ensure that your cover has the following:
- Basic dental treatment
- Curative treatment, which includes massage, physiotherapy, etc
- Accidental additives
- Costs for medicines and pharmaceuticals
- Residential medical treatment
- Transport to the nearest hospital
- Pregnancy and treatment of the newborn
- Transport to home country
- Lastly, it should protect you from injuries that might arise at your workplace or during your research duties
Are you an academic visitor?
Researchers are often invited in German academic institutions to study, and they need health insurance too. They research on projects and teach students as well. If you are an academic visitor and you want to take your family along, they too, need health insurance. If you come from non EU countries, you need information upfront before proceeding to visit the country. The reason being; you will only be issued with a resident permit only after you obtain the necessary insurance. If your proof isn’t valid, that could mean the end of your trip.
If you are a citizen from an EU country, you don’t need to seek an additional German health insurance policy. What you need is an (EHIC), otherwise known as European Health Insurance Card. But even if that’s the case, you should ensure that all the benefits are covered for maximum protection during your stay in Germany. You should also check if the insurance is valid for your family members you plan to travel with.
If you want to stay longer than usual with your family in Germany, you could opt to become a part of the German insurance system.
People with gainful employment opportunities at any of the German-based academic institutions should consider obligatory insurance in Germany. Your employer—the university, can meet the cost of your health insurance partly so that you become part of the German health insurance.
However, if you are a visiting academician with boundary, you can only get private insurance. In fact, in such a situation, it is not possible to become a part of the compulsory insurance. Generally, the boundary covers part of your health insurance cost. So you don’t need to worry about that.
By now, it’s clear that everybody who visits German qualifies for a health insurance. But there are still a few conditions that must be met in order to acquire insurance. These conditions often vary from one insurance company to the other. However, the following requirements are common among companies that insure visitors to Germany:
- Maximum accepted age is 64 years
- Maximum insurance period is 183 days
- Minimum insurance period is 8 day
Every insurance follow-up before expiry can be done via email or fax.
If you want to cancel your cover, it’s free as long as you can prove that your Visa application has been denied.
How much can you expect to pay in premiums?
Again, different companies charge different rates when it comes to determining your premiums.
Those who stay for not more than 8 days are charged 13 Euros if they are below 64 years of age. If you plan to stay for 15 days or up to 183 days, be prepared to part with anything between 19 Euros-199 Euros.
However, if you are traveling as a group, expect some discount on premiums. Group travels generally pay less compared to individual travels.
Where and how to find an ideal health insurance company to cover you while abroad in Germany
It’s always best that you plan ahead for the unexpected medical bills you might find yourself paying. However, with so many websites and companies putting offers on the web, it’s very difficult to find the right insurance company that will take care of your needs without making you pay more than you can afford.
But one trick always stands out. You need to take some time to research on the best quotes you could possibly get from a website. These quotes often vary depending on many factors, and you need to find the best of all.
If you are traveling to Germany from a country that belongs to EU, then you could apply for EHIC because it has unbelievable benefits to enjoy. This card allows you to access medical care services at a reduced cost, and sometimes for free. It also protects you from preexisting conditions.
Don’t always go for the cheapest deals because they might not protect you sufficiently. You might need to cover huge medical cost that your policy didn’t cover. So stick to sensible health insurance quotes.
Look for a good insurance provider with reputation. They must have good-customer service, special offers and a vast possibility of benefits when they insure you abroad.
If you are going to choose between full compulsory or private coverage, there are several questions you must answer. You are going to consider how high the cost of a private insurer is. Decide if you’re going to have a full-service private insurance, or just a part of it.
Most insurers insist that students and teenagers who are learning in Europe can be insured by their parents as long as they don’t earn more than 400 Euros every month.
How to get an EHIC card
The quickest and easiest way to obtain it is through online. Your card will arrive within 7 days. You can also apply through calling 0300 3301350 or by post using forms available at post offices. However, you need to apply by post if you are not a national of UK, EEA or Switzerland. Students studying abroad or those who are working abroad but are UK employed also need to apply by post.
Quick tips to protecting your health while traveling abroad
It’s often said that a little preparation can help when traveling abroad. Make sure you do the following:
- Make sure you buy adequate cover to protect you while you are in Europe
- Confirm with the NHS choice website for all information pertaining to health care in the country you are visiting
- Check the common wealth and foreign office for information on the latest medical advice for travelers
- Remember to carry any medical records you might have to help doctors easily deal with your condition when abroad.
- Lastly, if you are traveling within the EEA or Switzerland, you need to get your EHIC card.
With that information handy, you are ready to start searching for your ideal medical insurance. Since German’s medical system is streamlined to handle both citizens and foreigners, you can take advantage of the opportunity to always stay prepared just in case you fall ill. Applying for your health insurance doesn't have to be a tedious process anyway. It's about staying on the know and choosing the right health insurance package for your needs.