The German health care system: an overview of the German heath system

The German health system provides two types of health insurance. One called “obligatory” is public and known as “gesetzliche Krankenversicherung” (GKV) in German, and the other is private, known as “private Krankenversicherung” (PKV).

The public health insurance depends on the Länder (German regions) and their regional health ministries. They are supervised by the State through the Federal Ministry of Health, the “Bundesministerium für Gesundheit”. Then, health insurance may differ from one Länder to another. It is based on the contributions of its policyholders and repays care to those who cannot afford to pay for it (such as unemployed, retired people, children, etc.). The required contribution is up to 15.5% of gross wage, of which 8.2% is directly subtracted from the policyholder’s wage and 7.3% is paid by his employer.

On the other hand, the private health insurance, as its name suggests, does not depend on the State. It also requires a contribution from the policyholder, which is, however, not evaluated on the basis of the income. Indeed, age and state of health will determine the amount to be paid by the policyholder. Then, the more money a person is likely to cost, in the case of an elderly person in need for example, the higher the amount will be. If the person wants to get access to further services, the amount will then increase. Among other things, these services may include a single room in the hospital, or care provided by the head doctor of the department.

The German health care system: steps to take before leaving

Contact your social security and insurance to find out whether some of their offers would suit you! Whether you are a tourist or a student going on Erasmus, there are satisfactory solutions.

Make sure your European Health Insurance Card is valid and covers your entire stay. In fact, it is the proof that you have taken insurance out in a European country.

To find more information about living abroad, do not hesitate to read all our articles on the matter.

Your rights if you are sick in Germany

As a policyholder in a European country, you have the same rights as a German policyholder. When you will visit the doctor, you will pay 10 euros for the appointment at the reception desk, but you will not have to pay a bill when you will leave. The bill will directly be sent to your social security in your home country. A doctor cannot refuse to examine your or to ask you to pay a bill on the pretext that you are not German. If it happens to you, report this to the “Kassenärztlicher Vereinigung” (the association of contracted doctors) in your region. The “Kassenärztlicher Vereinigung” sets doctors’ fees and is the bridge between health insurance funds and doctors.

Where can you find a doctor in Germany?

Are you looking for a doctor? Do you need more information about your rights? Visit the federal government’s website.

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