In the academic area it is and always was very important to connect with scientists from different countries. Research expeditions are a great part of the work of many scientists. The exchange and cooperation with foreign colleagues often creates interesting and high-producing ideas. It is therefore even more important to keep this exchange vivid and to deepen the relationships. It is a great chance to work as visiting scientist in a foreign country. As visiting scientist it is possible to get a job at some university and to work with colleagues for a long time (e.g. one year) on different research projects. This can either be in the own research field or in the field of the colleague or it can be a cooperation and mixture between the two areas and create a very new project. It is also an option to work in industrial research in a different country.
This cooperation has to be planned in every detail with the colleagues and there are some questions to be concerned. For example which university offers the best opportunities, what institute has similar research projects and ideas etc. If these questions are answered the more detailed planning can start. This means defining the time, negotiate with the university, searching for a room, … To live and work in Germany it is necessary to prove having a health insurance that covers all important benefits.
The Germany Health Care System has two different parts, the compulsory insurance and the private insurance. Furthermore, it is obligatory in Germany to have insurance; this shall give protection to the whole population. To make sure everyone can afford insurance the monthly fees are calculated with the income of the insured person. Additionally the employer has to pay part of the insurance fee and for those being out of work or for students there are special offers and help. The private insurance in contrary is made for high budget persons and special job sections, with special rules. Foreign persons living in Germany for some time are not automatically included in this system.
If consulting a doctor in Germany it is necessary to have an insurance card or a similar proof that you are insured.
The member countries of the European Union and some other countries have special social insurance conventions. These conventions manage the insurance protection between the participating countries. With an insurance card of an EU-country it is therefore possible to get protection in Germany as well. Often there is a special European Health Insurance card (EHIC) which is valid in Germany as well.
The advantages of this method are: No necessity of an additional insurance for the stay abroad; the protection is still valid in the home country, e.g. when visiting family or friends and in all of the other EU-members for holiday trips.
Unfortunately there can be some disadvantages as well: In some cases not all benefits are taken in the host country, because they have other standards in their health system. Therefore, there is a chance that you do not have a good protection. For scientists from not EU countries this option is not available.
Typically scientists conclude an additional insurance for foreign countries, for these stays. It is possible to choose individual benefits that are important for the own situation. The insurances can be taken with companies from one’s home country or from German companies. The German companies have the advantage that they already adapted their benefits to the German system and they normally include all relevant benefits. With other companies you need to check if all benefits are included and if the protection is broad and accepted from the German system. This type of insurance is normally valid in many countries so you should check if it is valid in your home country if wanting to visit family and friends. It is also possible to stay in the insurance at home. The insurance for foreign countries can be booked for a flexible time so just as long as the stay will take. It is important to check that there are no gaps in the time of leaving and arriving, when the different insurances start or stop.
To show what kinds of benefits are important and should be included in the insurance here are some points:
- Ambulant and residential medical treatment
- Basic dental treatment
- Costs for medicines and pharmaceutical products
- In case you need it – glasses or contact lenses
- Accidental additives
- Curative treatment (e.g. physiotherapy, massage, etc.)
- Transport to the next hospital
- Pregnancy and treatment of the newborn
For foreign visiting scientists and researchers there are some more special benefits that should also be included, containing:
- Return transport to the home country in case of very fatal disease or injuries as well as in case of death
- Visit of a relative person in hospital
- Depending on the area of research, professional risks should be insured as well. For example accidents with chemicals or similar. It is best to ask at the host university, if they already have insurance for their employers and if this includes you.
For the stay in Germany there are some more types of insurance that could be interesting. For example this could be general liability insurance because it is a law in Germany to pay the costs for damage at the property of other people if caused by you. This can also include property of the university used for research. To check this it is best to ask the host university if there is insurance for these things.
A household insurance is another insurance that could be interesting if having research materials at home. Furthermore there is insurance for the luggage and an accident insurance.
The topic insurance is very important for the stay abroad and should be taken serious not only because it is obligatory in Germany because a broad protection is always important. With good insurance and protection there is one topic less to concern about before an during the stay in Germany.
And this is important to make good contacts and great scientific cooperation.