In-depth look at German healthcare
The healthcare system in Germany is very advanced.
The German healthcare system, which began in the 1880s and is Europe’s largest, is a hybrid public-private system. It is also one of the best healthcare systems in the world, thanks to its physicians, experts, and services.
In Germany, healthcare is paid for by statutory donations, ensuring that everybody has access to it. Furthermore, private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung or PKV) may be used to supplement or substitute state-provided coverage (gesetzliche Krankenkasse or GKV).
Germany’s health policy is produced by the Federal Ministry of Health. The Joint Federal Committee regulates this industry.
The Euro Health Consumer Index for 2018 ranked Germany 12th. It has been commended for providing customers with a wide range of care options. It was blamed, however, for having a small number of specialized hospitals, which lowered its quality ranking in Karlsruhe.
In Germany, who is qualified for medical care?
Via universal health insurance, all German citizens have access to healthcare. In order to receive healthcare, non-residents must have private insurance. Usually, temporary tourists would be required to pay for care and then claim reimbursement later.
You can use your EHIC card if you are a temporary visitor from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland. You must purchase mandatory German health insurance until you become an official citizen of Germany.
Costs of Germany’s healthcare system
Germany is one of Europe’s top health-care spenders. Healthcare costs account for 11.1% of the country’s annual GDP. In terms of GDP percentage, only Switzerland and France invest more. The annual cost of healthcare in Germany is just over €4,000 per person.
The bulk of premiums are covered by both public and private insurance payments. Aside from that, every fifth, everybody must pay a fee of about €10-15 for their first medical visit. If you don’t seek assistance during that quarter, you won’t have to pay anything. This can be said by those who have private health insurance.
Germany’s health-care system
If you work for less than €57,600 a year (€4,800 a month in 2017), you must enroll in the government health insurance plan, Gesetzliche Krankenversicherun (GKV), as soon as you sign your employment contract.
Around 110 Krankenkassen (non-profit organizations) manage the program, and they must all charge the same basic rate of 14.6 percent of your qualifying gross income, up to a monthly limit of €4,350 in 2017 (annual maximum of €52,200). You and your boss split this number equally. You must remain with a specific Krankenkasse for 18 months before switching to another government-sponsored plan. Employed employees are only required to contribute if their monthly income exceeds €850.
GKV provides primary care with licensed physicians, medical care (both in-patient and out-patient), and basic dental care. Non-working dependents who live at the same address and are registered with the Krankenkasse are covered for free.
GKV does not cover private medical appointments, hospital private quarters, alternative or complementary therapies, dental implants, or adult glasses and contact lenses.
For more details, consult our German health insurance guide.
As an expat in Germany, how do you register for healthcare?
You must register with the German authorities at your local town hall if you intend to stay in Germany for an extended period of time or work there (Einwohnermeldeamt). You have the same right to state-run healthcare as German citizens once you’ve enrolled, obtained a German social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer), and begun paying national insurance contributions.
You must also register with a health insurance fund in order to gain access to this. Here you can compare rates from various state-based insurers. The same insurance covers a non-working spouse and their children.
Your health insurance card (Krankenversichertenkarte) will be issued to you by your insurer, which you must bring with you if you visit a German doctor or dentist. Since 2014, evidence of entitlement to medical care and benefits has been an electronic eHealth card with a picture of the holder (unless under 15). When you visit a medical facility, the card is scanned, and it includes your name, date of birth, address, and health insurance details.
In Germany, there is private healthcare.
If you are:
self-employed; working part-time and earning less than €450 a month; employee earning more than €57,600 (2017); employee earning more than €57,600 (2017); employee earning more than €57,600 (2017); employee earning over €57,600 (2017); employee earning more than €57,
a self-employed professional; an artist; a government employee
In comparison to GKV, PKV usually encompasses a much broader spectrum of medical and dental treatments. Different types of coverage are available from different companies. Premiums are normally based on the individual’s age at the time of enrollment and any pre-existing conditions, and coverage is usually provided per person rather than per household, as with government insurance plans. A portion of the cost of medical care is tax deductible.
Employers in Germany pay up to €317.55 a month to private health insurance fees.
If you are not eligible for state-sponsored health insurance, you can purchase private health insurance from a provider. A variety of local and foreign insurers can be found in Germany, including:
Cigna Global Ottonova DFV Allianz Care ARAG Cigna Global
The PVK keeps track of all of Germany’s private health insurance providers.
Germany’s physicians and specialists
A Hausarzt is the equivalent of a general practitioner or primary care physician. You have complete freedom to select your own doctor in Germany’s healthcare system. Many people can communicate in English, at least in its most basic form. Since certain physicians only treat private patients, make sure to check ahead of time whether you have state insurance; otherwise, you can have to pay for care.
Monday through Friday, practice hours are typically 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; many practice on Wednesday afternoons. On Saturdays, only a few practices are available, and Sundays are reserved for emergency services.
Some doctors have an open-door policy, so you can just walk in; however, you may have to wait a long time. Many specialist doctors need a referral from your primary care physician, but some accept walk-in appointments.
For more detail, see our guide to German doctors.
Germany’s women’s health services
In Germany, universal health insurance provides access to gynecologists. During the pregnancy, they will look after you and support you. In addition to sexual wellbeing, cancer scans, and urinary tract infections, the gynecologist is the person to see for these issues.
The government pays for all of your maternity expenses. Some private insurers, on the other hand, do not cover this unless you specifically request it, so double-check.
In pharmacies, you can get pregnancy tests and simple types of contraception. Birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and diaphragms, however, must be prescribed by a gynecologist. A prescription is not needed for emergency contraception, which is readily available. Most abortion is not covered by public health insurance.
Annual screenings for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer are covered by statutory insurance for all women over 20.
In Germany, abortions are legal for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but you must first go to therapy. If the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy poses a significant risk to the mother’s health and well-being, an abortion may be performed up to 22 weeks into the pregnancy.
See our women’s health in Germany and having a baby in Germany guides for more information.