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I heard that health insurance is mandatory for those in Germany, but would it be required if I came on a student visa for a short stay. Basically, I only have a few exams to write, and then I'll go back, and plan on staying in hostels for the time.

The visa says to get "travel insurance" and I got that, so do I also need healh insurance on top

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  • it is required no matter what.
    – quantum
    Jul 18, 2023 at 12:18
  • I have a travel insurance @quantum Jul 18, 2023 at 15:14

2 Answers 2

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No, there is no universal obligation to have health insurance, but there are many circumstances triggering an obligation, essentially rendering it a universal obligation. Specifically see § 5 SGB Ⅴ:

§ 5 Obligatory Insurance

⑴ Subject to compulsory insurance are
[…]
9. students enrolled at a state college or college recognized by the state, regardless of having settled or maintaining habitual residence within Germany, provided they are not eligible for performance in kind on grounds of super- or intergovernmental agreements, until completion of their 30th year; […]
[…]

Colleges usually request a confirmation by your health insurance that you are insured, § 199a ⑵ SGB Ⅴ. If your college did not ask you for such form, it might be possible you do not have to take out insurance.

German social law is just a complete and utter clusterfuck. Frequently legal rules have exemptions, which then have counter exemptions having counter exemptions on themselves. Ugh! We cannot give you an ultimate answer without knowing all pertinent details.

Therefore I recommend asking your college (maybe they have an international office familiar with such issue). The DAAD suggest this too. Or consult an insurance provider in Germany; they know to ask “the right questions” (with respect to possibly applicable exemptions and counter exemptions).

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Whether health insurance is mandatory or not, a travel insurance that will pay the cost if you fall ill or get injured while in Germany would be extremely recommended. In addition to health insurance, it should also cover things like transporting you back home, for example if you can't take your paid flight back in two weeks time when you are four weeks in hospital with a very badly broken leg. Make sure that you read the terms and conditions of your travel insurance carefully, and that it will cover situations where you are not on holiday but like in your case, you are in Germany to take an exam.

And check whether you can get a cheap package holiday to Germany, it might be cheaper than flights and a cheap hostel. (I don't know the exact cost, but for me a flight to New York and back costs quite exactly the same as a week long package holiday in New York, so definitely worth checking).

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  • Where could I get flight packages? Jul 19, 2023 at 20:05
  • Any travel agency or website selling package holidays. You just book a complete holiday instead of a flight only.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 25, 2023 at 11:57

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