Officialization 3: Health Insurance

Officialization TOC

Health Insurance


In Germany, health insurance is compulsory, and most people have a national health insurance policy. Before being able to enroll in my school, I need to provide proof of health insurance.

My department gave me free coverage with a private travel-like insurance, which allows me to waive the national insurance. The problem is that the private insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions (which I have). I am also concerned that I may have a very hard time finding a doctor (especially an English speaking one) this way, to be able to switch doctors if I need to, and I would like to be covered in case something bad happens (who knows).

Furthermore, there’s a trick involving signing up/waiving national health insurance. I was told that:

  • if I sign up for it I am stuck with it for the whole two years that I am a student,
  • if I sign up for it, it will cover me in Italy as well because it is a European insurance,
  • if I waive it, I am stuck without it and won’t be able to revert back into it (at least until I am no longer a student, although I am not sure if I ever can),
  • if I waive it, I may have to get private insurance later (after the one the school gave me runs out), and at that point, they may not take me with pre-existing conditions.

So, if insurance is compulsory, but no one takes me and I end up without insurance, I think I can’t enroll in the Uni, which means that I can’t get a student visa, which means Germany kicks me out… I think? I still don’t quite understand this part.

Anyway, I decided to go with what my department recommended in this case, which is supposed to be the national health insurance, offered through the company AOK. I still don’t 100% know if this is the right thing, or if I’m losing a ton of money, but you know, I decided it was ok. This way, everything is official, no one can kick me out later, and all my health problems should be covered.

What I needed for the appointment:

  • Passport with the Shengen Visa
  • Zulassungsbescheid (Notification of admission to the Uni)
  • Mug shot, i.e. passport photo


  • €90/month (ouch!)

I also need to come back to the AOK office after I have a bank account (to pay them), and my student card and city registration from the Bürgeramt (to prove to them that I wasn’t lying about everything I said before). I think at that point I can get my health insurance number or health insurance card or… whatever it is.

As an aside, in the United States, with insurance, I paid 100-150 USD for a doctors visit which I have every six months, plus ~10-15 USD for meds each month. From what I understand, in Germany without insurance, the costs may be similar here for a visit and meds. (But I got the insurance because I didn’t want to risk being turned away or have something not be covered.)


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