Health insurance and finding doctors in Berlin

In Germany, health insurance is a compulsory requirement for students and a necessary condition of enrollment.

The German system has two kinds of health insurance: private and public. BMS students can choose one over another depending on several factors like nationality, costs and general health status. Both types of insurance typically offer online and English services.

  • Private health insurance (private Krankenversicherung) is usually the cheaper option, ranging between 40€ and 70€ per month (maximum for the first two years!). However, it may not cover all kinds of treatments (e.g. vaccinations, dental procedures or regular visits without proof of illness are not covered). You will also usually need to pay upfront at doctor's offices and then ask for a reimbursement from the insurance company which means you must have some savings available. Typically after two years the insurance fee is raised significantly, for example Continentale raised it from 69€ to 120€ per month for the third year.
  • Public health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) looks like the more expensive option at first but covers everything. For every doctor's visit, showing the insurance card will guarantee full coverage. General check-ups like going to the dentist or the OB GYN once a year or vaccinations are covered and do not need a medical reason. Extra payments may be incurred if asking for extra services (e.g. ultrasound if not medically necessary) or in case of major dental work (e.g. bridges or crowns). Phase I students under 30 years old get the student rate which is around 110€ per month. Phase II students and Phase I students over the age of 30 pay 15% of their income.

Phase II students from non-EU/EFTA countries are eligible for public health insurance only if their residence permit is valid for at least 12 months. Phase II students with PhD positions (employment contracts) must choose a public health insurance provider and the fee will be automatically deducted from their salary. Any student can apply for private health insurance, which does not offer a fixed student rate.

For the university enrollment, students choosing private health insurance will need to obtain a waiver or exemption certificate (Befreiungsbescheinigung) from a German public health insurance company. Please note: it is not allowed to switch from private insurance to a public provider. This can only happen if starting for example an employment contract for the first time, thus switching from a student status into an employee position.

Students from EU/EFTA countries may not need to take out health insurance in Germany as long as they possess a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC is part of a health service agreement between all EU and EFTA countries, which gives citizens of those countries access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the countries. Students should ask the public health insurance provider in their home country to issue an EHIC before moving to Germany. Please find more infos here:
Upon arrival, they can obtain an exemption certificate by taking the EHIC to any German public health insurance company. This certificate is also necessary for university enrollment.

Germany has also signed bilateral social security agreements (Sozialversicherungsabkommen) with some non-EU countries, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Morocco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Tunesia. As for the EHIC, students from these countries should ask the health insurance provider in their home country to issue a certificate of insurance coverage and bring it to a German public insurance provider asking for recognition and exemption from public insurance obligation.

Please refer to the following websites for further information about public and private health insurance in Germany:

Some examples of health insurance providers:
Techniker Krankenkasse (TK): Designated university contact person: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Barmer GEK:


Bank account, Health insurance and travel health insurance (for visa) combined:
Some relocation companies have designed special packages of visa-related services for international students coming to Germany. One of these is Expatrio, which provides an all-inclusive offer combining a travel health insurance, a blocked account (if necessary) and a German bank account. After the university enrollment is confirmed, Expatrio automatically switches the travel health insurance into a public health insurance under the German provider TK (Techniker Krankenkasse).

English speaking doctors in Berlin
Most doctors speak at least English and some have listed the languages that they speak on their websites. It is worth it to just call the closest one and ask if they speak English. There are no restrictions from your health insurance with regards to choosing a doctor or hospital. However, a few selected doctors (usually in wealthy areas) will declare that they do not accept public health insurance, so look for the words “Alle Kassen” (here “Kasse” means health insurance provider)