Guide for Scholarship holders and other foreign academics

All you need to know about Health Insurance for Scholarship holders, PhDs, Postdocs and self-funded Guest Scientists plus additional information like application and Blocked Account.


Scholarship holders, self-funded PhDs, Postdocs and Guest Scientists

Read the complete Health insurance overview for scholarship holders in Germany.

The German university system is amongst the best in the world, with over 300 public universities including both traditional academic institutions and Universities of Applied Sciences. German universities are committed to both excellence in research and internationalism. Consequently, a large number of internationals study for a Doctorate or take a Guest Scientist residency in Germany, either being granted a scholarship, being employed or also being completely self-funded.

International scientists play an integral role in the German university system. Most German universities offer positions for foreign researchers and also warmly welcome international PhD students. Each year in Germany 28,000 students complete a doctorate, 5,000 of those have an international background. 

Scholarship holders, PhD students, postdocs and international scientists in Germany will find DeGiS network as a vital source of information, support and advice to help them when planning the move to Germany and during their time of studies.

 

Healthcare Insurance for Scholarship holders PhDs and Guest Scientists

It is mandatory by law that all residents of Germany have health insurance, and this includes foreign academics, i.e. Scholarship holders, self-funded Guest Scientists and PhD candidates. Most of the German population and also international students have public healthcare insurance whereas this is not always possible for foreign academics. Therefore, please read the entire DeGiS  health insurance guide with particular attention.

If you have an employment contract in Germany or if you have been covered by statutory health insurance from any European country in the past, you can opt for any statutory health insurance. All other Scholarship holders, self-funded PhDs, postdocs and. Guest Scientists from outside the EU/EEA only have the option of taking out private health insurance in Germany.

Different private health insurance methods

Please be advised that there are two different kind of private health insurances, as explained in our dedicated article about German Health Insurance. Those two different kind of insurances are in general:

  1. (Private) Travel Health Insurances
  2. (Private) Substitutive Health Insurances

The Travel Health Insurances may not cover all the treatments you wish to have covered (like the inclusion of pre-existing conditions, preventive assessments, existing pregnancy & childbirth, high-quality tooth treatments, COVID-19 vaccine etc.) and often come with certain waiting periods before the actual coverage starts. Please also pay attention that depending on the local Foreigners Office handling the residence permit application, the travel health insurance might not be accepted as it does not qualify as a so-called “substitutive” health insurance, so basically it does not offer sufficient coverage on the same level as the public health insurance.

DeGiS always recommends concluding a “substitutive” private health insurance for a stay of more than 90 days. Several providers do offer such a private health insurances qualifying as “substitutive”, but only a few tailor them to the special need of foreign academics, as listed below. With some of the providers, DeGiS negotiated special group contracts that are beneficial for the person insured. In case you might not be able to be insured in the substitutive health insurance, you can only opt for the travel health insurance which is listed on the bottom of this page. 

Substitutive health insurances overview:

Name tariffDeGiS - Care ConceptDAAD 790D - ContinentaleDeGiS - Hallesche
Insurer(Care Concept & Hanse Merkur)(Continentale)(Hallesche)
Acceptance groupOpen for foreign scientist with a scholarship.Open for foreign scientist who are supported or funded by a partner organization of the DAAD.Open for foreign scientist with a scholarship.
Acceptance ageUp to 34 yearsUp to 55 yearsUp to 64 years
Acceptance health conditionDetailed health questionnaire. Premium surcharges, exclusions or rejection of customers with severe pre-existing conditions.Rejection of customers with the following pre-conditions: HIV, cancer, kidney failure, blood disease or multiple sclerosis.Open to all applicants, also with severe pre-existing conditions.
PremiumUp to 29 years €69,62.
Between 29 and 34 years €95,68 per month.
Flat €160 per month.
From 01.01.2021 flat €190 per month.
Between €182,25 and €513,81 per month, depending on age.
Premium for spouseFlat €144,74Same as main person insured.Same as main person insured.
Premium for childrenFlat €144,74Flat €139 until the age of 18.Between €182,25 and €239,08 per month, depending on age.
Other factorsLiability and accident insurance can be added for €6 per month. Price includes liability and accident insurance.Has to be concluded within 6 weeks after arrival to Germany.
ConclusionGood coverage for a great price - for young and healthy scholars with no or non-severe pre-existing conditions.Good coverage with a relatively high price - increased from 01.01.2021. Available also for older scholars with certain pre-existing conditions.Good coverage for a high price - ideal for scholars with pre-existing conditions.
LinkDeGiS - Care ConceptDAADDeGiS - Hallesche

 

Substitutive health insurances details:

1. DeGiS 1 group insurance with Care Concept

The German Association for international students (DeGiS) has developed the group insurance 1 together with Care Concept, is open to every scholarship holder and usually offers a comparably cheap price with comparably high coverage. It can be concluded up to the age of 34 and starts from €69,62 per month with the maximum price of €95,68. If desired by the applicant, a private liability and accident insurance from Care Concept can be added for a small additional cost or concluded separately with another provider. The advantage is the cheap price, the disadvantage is, that it is only possible to conclude for young scholarship holder in a good health condition with no or little pre-existing conditions – in other cases, the insurance might reject your application. More information in different languages and the application can be found here: DeGiS – Care Concept

2. DAAD group insurance with Continentale

If you are a scholarship holder at a partner organization of the DAAD, it is possible to insure yourself in the DAAD’s group insurance. The price for this tariff is €160 (increasing from 01.01.2021) including a basic private liability and accident insurance. The advantage of this tariff is, that also persons up to 55 years of age can insure themselves, with the possibility of getting insured pre-existing conditions (but excluding HIV, cancer, kidney failure, blood disease or multiple sclerosis). More information and the application can be found here: DAAD

3. DeGiS 2 group insurance with Hallesche

DeGiS has also developed the group insurance 2 together with Hallesche which is open to every scholarship holder. It can be concluded up to the age of 64 and with exemplarily costs of €203,38 per month for a 30-year-old scholar and €219,48 for a 35-year-old one in the tariff BD2 for non-EU scholars. The tariffs offer the possibility of also getting insured if pre-existing conditions would exclude the scholar from other health insurance alternatives. More information and the application can be found here: DeGiS – Hallesche

Alternative providers:

If you are a scholarship holder with Max Planck Society or Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, you can also apply for private health insurance coverage with FlexMed Global provided by AXA, starting at €188,86 per month with the possibility of also getting insured if pre-existing conditions would exclude the scholar from other alternatives. More information and the application can be found here: FlexMed Global

You can of course also conclude any other substitutive private health insurance. A good overview can be found on the website of the German Association of Private Health Insurances.

Travel Health Insurance overview

Even though DeGiS strongly recommends to take out substitutive private health insurance coverage if you are staying for more than 90 days in Germany, for the sake of providing transparent and complete information, we are also happy to share with you the travel health insurance alternatives.

If you cannot opt for the substitutive tariffs above, or if you have been advised or if you decided yourself that the travel health insurance is the right coverage for you, you can opt for one of the most prominent providers:

Conclusion on how to take out health insurance

There are different providers and possibilities for health insurance coverage. DeGiS strongly advises international scholarship holders, PhDs or self-funded Guest Scientists to compare the available options and make a sound decision based on the price and coverage. When it comes to substitutive coverage, the DeGiS group insurance 1 offers by far the cheapest price for young and healthy scholars, whereas for all others the DAAD tariff is advisable. In case of pre-existing conditions which are not covered by DAAD, the DeGiS group insurance 2 is the only choice. In case of questions, applicants can contact the dedicated DeGiS insurance department (Referat 4: Visum & Versicherungen) for further information under versicherung@degis.info.

Additional information for Scholarship holders, PhDs and Guest Scientists

Applying for a PhD or Guest Scientist role

There are different routes to become a PhD or Guest Scientist in Germany. For gaining a PhD in Germany, either a Structured PhD Programme or via an Individual Doctorate can be pursued. As well as proving academic excellence, in many cases applicants will also need to demonstrate a suitable level of German language proficiency in order to apply. Applications are made directly to the university. Once an offer has been made, prospective students will often need to open a German Blocked Account and gain Health Insurance before applying for a visa. These are essential steps and no visa can be acquired without them. Read more in our visa section.

 

Blocked Account for Scholarship holders, PhDs and self-funded Guest Scientists

International PhD students from outside of the EU will often need to open a German Blocked Account and deposit sufficient funds to prove they can cover their living costs for the duration of their studies. This Blocked Account needs to be opened before a visa will be granted. Guests Scientists usually do not need a Blocked Account but will need their invitation letter from the university, proof of agreed payment or allowances or a scholarship contract in order to apply for a visa. On the contrary, self-funded guest-scientists without scholarship from the university might need to open a German Blocked Account.