Health insurance for Refugees in Germany
As official statistics show, over 700,000 refugees have been registered at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in Germany during 2016.
These refugees mostly come from areas of conflict like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and because of this a large number of them are either injured or have some kind of illness. For their physical and mental health, having a proper medical and psychological treatment is more than crucial.
As already stated, the health insurance in Germany is mandatory for everyone residing in Germany. This includes refugees seeking asylum in Germany, regardless of their citizenship status.
But, there are some rules and limitations a refugee in Germany should be aware of when deciding to get insurance. First, one must know that the refugees have fewer benefits than legally insured citizens in Germany. However, current legal regulations allow treating specific cases to further extend if needed.
Below we’ve provided all the information refugees must have prior to seeking insurance in Germany:
Where can I get health insurance as a refugee in Germany?
It all begins with knowing where to make a request for seeking health insurance. The first place the refugee need to address his/her health issues as a refugee is the immigrant center where he/she is registered.
There are specific officials and sections that deal with the health issues of the refugees accommodated there. A refugee is supposed to undergo regular medical check-ups to come up with a conclusion over his health situation. If needed, the team of medicals at the reception center may require the subject to undergo further analyzes to examine their health problems into more details.
What benefits does The German Health Insurance for Refugees cover?
The German Health insurance for Refugees covers less medical services than normally insured citizens. As a refugee, an individual can request regular medical checkups and basic medical assistance. Further intervention can only be given if the medical team assess that there is an emergency to act.
Common medical services refugees in Germany can seek:
- Regular medical check-ups
- Medical treatment for acute illnesses
- Nursing and medical treatment for pregnant women (including remedies)
- Medical assistance for women who just gave birth (including remedies)
Can I get statutory health insurance like permanent residents in Germany?
15 months from the first day at the immigrants’ reception center, the refugee is eligible to seek statutory insurance in Germany. To a certain degree the refugees will get the same benefits as German residents, however, there will still be limitations.
From the very first day in the migrants’ camp, everyone is obligated to undergo regular checkups to see if their health is at acceptable limits. These medical checkups are usually a routine at refugee camps so the refugees’ health is known at any time. This is very important because there are many individuals that have an unknown medical background and may impose a threat to the community.
After a refugee lives in Germany for this period of time he/she is entitled to the German insurance and social assistance scheme. Similar to other insured citizens, refugees must share a percentage of their earnings to cover their health insurance. Currently, the social grants to refugees are around 4,800 per year, or slightly over 400 per month and 2% of this income must be allotted to paying health insurance.
What is the Gesundheitskarte?
The Gesundheitskarte is an electronic insurance card. This chip-card allows the patient to go directly to the doctor without even visiting a social services department to take a medical certificate or asking for a permission beforehand.
After 15 months of residing in Germany, refugees can get this insurance card.
Note that the new medical reform that introduced the Gesundheitskarte is not available in every Federal state.
Which German Federal States give health insurance cards to refugees?
As mentioned, not every German state offers health care insurance cards to refugees. Below is the exact list of German states that do and do not offer such cards to their immigrants
These states have implemented the health insurance card for refugees
In political process:
- Mecklenburg- Vorpommern
Should refugee students seek health insurance in Germany?
Just like for normal students in Germany, health insurance is also mandatory for refugee students who want to attend university. This applies only to students who are under 30 years of age and haven’t finished their 14th semester.
Also, refugee students carry the same monthly premium as other students. Currently, a student’s contribution is 66.33 euros.
But students in Germany are also assigned for another type of insurance, the long-term care insurance. As students with equal rights, the refugee students are obligated to pursue it as well.
The application process is easier if the applicant has a well-defined civil status (for example a refugee in protection or an asylum seeker). However, a student can still initiate an admission process, but additional requirements and restrictions may be applied.
To a larger degree, this depends on the university’s own policy, so we suggest you contact them in person for details.
In general, if a refugee aims to enroll at a German university, they will be required to show these documents:
- Qualification degree
- Proof of health insurance
- An official notice if there’s a restricted number of programs the students are eligible to apply for
- Personal information
Make sure you have completed your documents as required otherwise the admission committee of your university will deny your application. Also, the refugee’s qualification obtained back in their home country are mostly counted, but it may occur that the university requests another route to assess the applicant’s suitability.
What if the refugee has an acute illness and needs urgent medical interventions?
Insurance providers in Germany are allowed to offer medical help to immigrants to the extent the law allows them.
Health insurance plans for refugees cover only basic medical needs, but if there’s an emergency there are exemptions. Fortunately, the current legal regulations are shown to be very flexible, giving the immigrants an opportunity to seek more specific medical aids if needed.
Does every German state offer health insurance for refugees?
Unfortunately, some German federal states don’t offer health insurance services at all.
Individual states that comprise the country of Germany set their refugee health insurance policy on their own. Until now, the majority of the German federal states have accepted such health insurance scheme for foreigners residing in the country with a specific status.
The German federal states that offer health insurance to refugees:
- North Rhine-Westfalia
The German federal states that haven’t introduced health insurance services for refugees:
- Mecklenburg- Vorpommern
German federal states with partial application or ongoing debates about offering refugee health insurance:
- Lower Saxony