All doctoral candidates must have valid health insurance for the entire duration of their stay in Germany. If you are under 30 years of age, you will need to provide a respective confirmation upon enrollment.
Doctoral candidates who are employed, e.g. by the University of Cologne, will be registered with the health insurance provider ("Krankenkasse") of their (i.e. your!) choice by their employer. You need to inform your employer which statutory health insurance company you have chosen (given that your annual salary does not exceed the current limit for statutory health insurance of 53.500 Euros). It is the employer's task to register new employees with the health insurance company. The latter then forwards the registration to other social security providers. Contributions to health insurance are deducted from the employee's salary at source. Out of a total standardized contribution of 15.5%, the employer is responsible for 7.3%.
Candidates holding a scholarship (and not receiving additional payments from employment), need to take out a health insurance policy themselves. They can choose between statutory health insurance on a voluntary basis (“freiwillige gesetzliche Versicherung”) and private companies. In the first case, premiums are calculated on the basis of the stipend. In the latter case, the premium will be fixed on the basis of your age, current health status and assumed risks of illness. We recommend comparing both systems and the various offers carefully.
Doctoral candidates from abroad
In the following paragraphs, you will find very general information on health insurance requirements. If you need further advice, please contact the International Office of the University of Cologne or the AMGC. Please note that candidates from abroad will need proof of health insurance already upon arrival in Germany. This does also apply to all family members who accompany you. Travel insurance is not sufficient since it only covers specific health risks when travelling, but does not provide sufficient cover for your time in Cologne. Please ensure that you have comprehensive health insurance cover immediately on entering Germany. This also applies to members of your family travelling with you.
If you have a health insurance from abroad, please check well in advance whether your insurance is recognized in Germany and if it covers your stay here. If this is the case, your insurance company at home will issue a certificate which you can then bring to Germany. In some cases, there exist international agreements on health insurance between Germany and a partner state.
If your health insurance is not recognized or doesn’t cover illnesses occuring during your stay in Germany, you must check the options for health insurance in Germany early on, before entering the country. In that case, the International Office or the AMGC will gladly assist you.
International doctoral candidates with a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) can be insured via group-insurance by the DAAD. For all other doctoral candidates from abroad, a contract between the German Studentenwerk and private insurance companies provides a reasonable solution.
The information provided by EURES (website of the European Commission) might also be helpful.