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Quick Facts:

  • Health insurance is mandatory in Germany at all times during your stay
  • If you have a work contract, your employer will register you for social insurance (health, nursing care, pension, unemployment and accident insurance). It will be automatically deducted from your gross salary.
  • As an employee, you are eligible for public health insurance. You are free to choose your own provider, but you need to inform your employer about your choice.
  • As a doctoral student without employment, you may not eligible for public health insurance if you come from outside the EU. In this case, you need to take up private health insurance.

Health Insurance

In Germany, health insurance is mandatory, which means that regardless of your citizenship or residence permit, with or without an employment contract, you are obliged to have valid health insurance at all times during your stay in Germany.

Proof of adequate health insurance coverage has to be presented during the application process for your visa, if you require one for entering the country. When applying for a residence permit for Germany, you will also have to show proof of health insurance to the Munich Foreigners Office when applying for your permit.

What does health insurance need to cover?

  • Doctor and dentist treatment
  • The supply of medication, dressing and aid
  • Hospital treatment
  • Medical services for rehabilitation
  • Assistance through pregnancy and labor

The German Health Insurance System

The German health insurance system is characterized by the dual system of public (statutory) health insurance and private health insurance. Your eligibility for each system depends on your employment status, your country of origin and your insurance history.

For which insurance system am I eligible?


If you have a work contract with LMU Munich or another employer, it is mandatory to have public health insurance by a licensed German provider. You have up to 14 days from the beginning of your employment contract to provide your employer with an insurance certificate by a public insurance provider of your choice. If you have not chosen a provider by then, your employer will register you with AOK Bayern.

Scholarship/No employment

You are probably eligible for public health insurance if you are:

  • from an EU-country and have been in the public health insurance system of your home country
  • from a non-EU country, but have been in a EU public health insurance system for a prolonged period of time

You are probably not eligible for public health insurance if you are:

  • from a non-EU country and have never been in an EU public health insurance system before

If you are interested in taking out public health insurance, you should contact an insurance provider of your choice to make sure that you are eligible and inquire about the rates.

If you would like to sign up for private health insurance, we recommend that you do some preliminary research to compare rates and find a plan that covers all your medical needs. The Munich Student Union collaborates with a private insurance provider that offers special conditions for doctoral students who are not eligible for public health insurance.

NOTE: Please be aware that if you decide to opt out of the public health insurance system, you may not have the option of getting back into it in the future.


Social Insurance for Employees

If your doctorate is connected to an employment contract, you will have to pay fixed statutory social security contributions.

The German system of social insurance is based on the principle of solidarity. This means that every insured person makes a contribution towards financing social insurance depending on their (financial) ability.

Social security includes the following:

  • Health insurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Long-term nursing care insurance
  • Accident insurance (for your work place)

Your employer is responsible for paying the contributions directly and will deduct your employee contributions from your gross salary each month. You can view the total amount of contributions on your pay slip.

Necessary steps for registration

As soon as your working contract starts, your HR department will take the necessary steps to register you for social security.

  1. Your employer will register you with the public health insurance provider (Krankenkasse) of your choice. Please note that it is your responsibility to proactively inform your HR department about which health insurance provider you have chosen, otherwise you will automatically be insured with a specific insurance provider.
  2. You will receive your Social Insurance Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) from the provider handling the pension scheme and a small booklet proving that you are insured (Versicherungsnachweisheft).
  3. Hand in the booklet to your HR department.

NOTE: If you have worked in different countries and paid into the social security systems there, it is advisable to check with the respective insurance providers in those countries which entitlements you may have. This only applies to countries which Germany has signed a Social Security Agreement with. You can check the agreements at the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to find out more.

NOTE: If you plan on returning to a country which does not have a Social Security Agreement with Germany, you can also ask for a refund of your pension contributions from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung.


Useful Links

Health Insurance:

Social Security:


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