The German healthcare system is well-funded and is considered to be one of the most efficient in the world. Medical facilities and standards are excellent, with a national network of hospitals and clinics providing extensive care. All residents of Germany are entitled to German healthcare, although there are no subsidised services and health insurance is required by law. More in-depth information can be found here about the German health system and health insurance if travelling or moving to Germany.
Healthcare in Germany is divided into 2 categories, public health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and private medical care (Private Krankenversicherung). Germany’s social security scheme is considered good, however the contributions for public health insurance are calculated based on annual income and can be expensive. For working citizens, insurance is paid directly from their salary (the employer covers 50% of the contributions, while the other half is covered by the employee). All salaried workers living in Germany with a monthly income of less than €4,687.50 must be publicly insured.
Those who are self-employed and business owners must pay their own contributions in full. For those who are unemployed or eligible for benefits, this is covered by the state. Applying for public health insurance is relatively straightforward. Once you have chosen a specific insurer, simply apply online or make an appointment with a regional office. The HR department of most large companies can assist with this process too and will be familiar with the state German health system.
Individuals who earn more than the €4,687.50 per month can opt for private health insurance, as well as German Civil Servants and those who are self-employed. Private health insurance is more costly and the application will require proof of income, a medical test and providing a detailed medical history. Most employers do not offer assistance with this process. Those with private insurance do not necessarily receive superior care, but waiting times are dramatically shorter.
For medicine and prescriptions, you should always go to a pharmacy (Apotheke), marked by a noticeable red letter “A”. Those with public health insurance will only pay around 10% of the cost of the medication (which can be expensive in Germany).
Most dental work in Germany is relatively costly, and insurance companies will usually require a cost estimate prior to the patient receiving treatment. Most insurance companies will make a strict distinction between necessary medical treatment and cosmetic procedures, and will not always deem treatment necessary (or cover it). This will vary depending on an individual’s type of coverage within the German healthcare system. Many Germans choose to take out an additional dental insurance option (known as Zahnzusatzversicherung or Zahnschutz-Zusatzversicherung). There are many English-speaking dentists in Germany.
Emergency Services Number:
Ambulance – 112
Fire – 112
Police – 112