Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state-provided healthcare in Germany at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth. Non-EEA nationals are covered in Germany.
Finding Help in Emergencies
If you find yourself in an emergency during your stay in Germany, dial 112, which is free from public phones. Accident and emergency (A&E) departments in Germany are called Notaufnahme.
Other useful numbers to note down:
110 – police (Polizei)
112 – fire brigade (Feuerwehr) and ambulance (Rettungswagen)
0761 192 40 – emergency poison helpline
Most emergency services and doctors speak English, but there is no guarantee. If possible, have a local person assist you with your call. In addition, take a note of these useful German phrases for emergencies and doctor appointments.
Health Services and Costs
Make sure you are treated by a state-funded healthcare provider. You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non- refundable.
German GPs and dental surgeries usually display a sign saying Kassenarzt or Alle Kassen, which indicates they are operating under the state system. You can find GPs (Ärzte), dentists (Zahnärzte), pharmacies (Apotheken) or hospitals (Krankenhäuser) via the Gelbe Seiten, which is the German version of Yellow Pages. If you need urgent medication out of hours, you can visit the emergency pharmacy, known as the Apotheken-Notdienst.
Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.
If you move to Germany long-term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to register with one of the statutory health insurance funds (gesetzliche Krankenkassen ). Your insurance fund will issue you with a health insurance card (Krankenversichertenkarte), which you have to take with you whenever you visit a doctor, dentist or specialist.
Children under 18 do not have to pay for treatment.
Except for emergencies, you'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Either provide your EHIC or your German-issued health insurance card at admission. You will have to pay a fixed charge of €10 a day for a maximum of 28 days in a year. Patients up to the age of 18 do not have to pay.
Medicines and bandages prescribed by your GP can be obtained from any pharmacy in exchange for the prescription. You will have to pay 10% of the cost subject to a minimum charge of €5 and a maximum charge of €10. These costs are not refundable. For minor drugs and medicines, such as painkillers and cough mixtures, you may be charged the full amount. Children under 18 do not have to pay a fee for prescriptions.
There are strict regulations about how much and what kind of medications can be imported to Germany. Please see the German customs page for more information.
Ambulance (including air ambulance):
You are only covered by your EHIC or German health insurance card in emergencies or if a doctor states that it's needed for medical reasons.