For those living and working in Germany, since 2009 it's been a legal requirement to have health insurance in place. Non-EU citizen planning to stay in Germany for more than 90 days must apply for a German residence permit or visa.
According to German law (specifically Section 5 (1) (1) of the German Residence Act), residence permits are granted to those who can prove self-sufficiency whilst in Germany, which includes having adequate health insurance in place, according to Section 2 (3) of the Act.
There are 2 choices for health insurance for those applying for a German residence permit. A German private health insurance scheme, or an international health insurance plan both potentially provide sufficient cover. However, international health insurance companies don't always meet the requirements under German law.
So what does German law say? Foreign nationals who don't have statutory German health insurance must be able to prove they have health insurance with a non-statutory health insurance company. The cover must meet certain legal requirements and mirror the German statutory health insurance scheme in its nature and scope. Specifically, the cover must not:
- contain any exclusion of benefits on a large scale,
- demand high excess payments to be made by the person insured,
- limit reimbursed costs in the event of the insured falling ill,
- have any expiry or indemnity clauses relating to the insured`s age, or whether they cease any particular activity, or change the purpose of their residency.
In addition to this, the policy mustn't expire and must be automatically renewable/extendable, acting as a form of life insurance.
The German Federal Supervisory Authority for Financial Services (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht), based in Bonn, stipulates that the agreement between an insured and their insurers must meet all statutory requirements for health insurance in Germany, in accordance with Section 257(2) (a) of Book V of the German Social Security Statute.
Finding out if an international health insurance policy's valid in Germany can be done by approaching the insurance company themselves, asking if they meet the necessary requirements. If they can't confirm this, they probably don't meet the German legal requirements.
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