Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infectious disease which is caused by a new virus. It causes respiratory illness, similar to the flu, which includes symptoms like fever, cough, and even shortness of breath. German authorities have been imposing restrictions on everyday life, as a way of preventing the virus from spreading. Universities have delayed their semesters, employees are working remotely, and people are being advised to stay home and avoid large crowds of people as much as possible.
Germany is an international student magnet, meaning there are a large number students who are currently in Germany and away from their homes. It is normal to be confused during this pandemic, however, the German authorities are constantly making sure that the public has the necessary information regarding the current situation in Germany. One of the concerns international students also have is whether health insurance will cover them during this time.
In this article, we have compiled some of the frequently asked questions about health insurance for international students in Germany during the coronavirus pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Will My Health Insurance Cover Coronavirus Expenses?
According to the Federal Ministry of Health in Germany, the healthcare fund has been covering coronavirus costs since 28 February 2020. However, the attending physician should decide initially whether the person should be tested.
Students who are part of degree programmes, (excluding language students, interns, doctoral students, or students above the age of 30) are entitled to public health insurance. Public health insurance companies, like TK, have announced that the medical treatment in case of coronavirus infection is covered for international students. Private health insurance companies are also covering the medical expenses of coronavirus. For example, health insurance plans by Dr-Walter are offering coverage of up to 90 days for medical costs, in case you’re forced to spend more time abroad as a result of COVID-19.
2. Will My Health Insurance Plan Cover Quarantine Costs?
Unfortunately, no. Since quarantine is often prescribed as a precautionary measure, health insurance funds, either public or private, do not cover the costs of it. So, since it is not considered a medically necessary treatment, foreign health insurance does not cover the costs of it. In case you test positive for the virus during quarantine, health insurance funds will cover your costs.
3. Will Health Insurance Plans Cover Coronavirus Prevention Costs?
Health insurance funds do not share the prevention costs (which include face masks, disinfectants, or gloves, known as assistive products). In case these assistive products assure successful health treatment, then public health insurance will cover their costs.
4. Can I Cancel My Health Insurance Plan If I Cannot Come to Germany Because of Coronavirus?
The answer is yes. Health insurance companies allow you to cancel your health insurance plan if your trip to Germany was not made possible due to coronavirus. You will be required to contact the respective health insurance company and request a cancellation of your plan.
5. Can I Postpone My Health Insurance Plan If I Cannot Come to Germany Because of Coronavirus?
Yes, you also have the possibility of postponing your trip and thus changing the travel period in your insurance plan. For this, you will also have to contact the company you are insured with.
6. Are Health Insurance Customer Services Available During COVID-19?
Yes, health insurance customer services are available during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Health insurance companies have staff available in case of urgent and exceptional cases. However, in order to protect the safety of both, the customers and staff, appointments in person are not advised or are only available after prior appointment by phone. Many health insurance companies have created a coronavirus infection hotline for those who are insured with them. You will be able to find the respective contact information on the website of each health insurance company if you do not already have the number/email of the company you are insured with.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Coronavirus?
In case you were in contact with someone who has been tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), you should contact your doctor, the local public health department, or call 116 117. You can find your local health authority by postcode if you use the Robert Koch-Institut search tool here. If you have visited one of the areas identified as high-risk by the Robert Koch-Institut, you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not.
Keep in mind that the symptoms of coronavirus are high temperature, cough, and shortness of breath. Anyone who has these symptoms should call their doctor and consult them before visiting a hospital or pharmacy.
Further Coronavirus Information for International Students in Germany
Universities in the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have delayed their summer terms until 20 Apri 2020. Higher education institutions are being advised to begin preparing for the possibility of online classes while university summer courses and upcoming Individual Scholarships for the year 2020 have been cancelled. What is crucial right now is to stop the spread of COVID-19.
You can find more coronavirus information for international students in Germany here.
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