Accessing Healthcare in Germany

It is always great to dream of exploring the Holocaust Memorial as well as the historic Berlin Wall in Germany to be reminded on Europe’s storied past. Or perhaps enjoy Oktoberfest at the Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall in Munich or even visit the famous Goethe House in Frankfurt, the Reeperbahn nightlife of Hamburg, and the medieval landmarks of Dusseldorf. Whatever you do in Germany, make sure you have, together with your passport, the European Health Insurance Card. This gives you access to high quality, equitable, accessible, and affordable German public health care services. It covers health conditions that crop up while on a temporary stay in Germany as well as routine maternity care and treatment of chronic conditions. Just be sure you don’t enter Germany specifically for this purpose.

When accessing the famed healthcare of Germany using your EHIC, make sure that you only seek services provided by state-funded institutions. Otherwise, you will be faced with mounting financial burden if you seek treatments from a private facility. As such, if your travel has been arranged for you by your hotel or by a tour operator, make sure that their healthcare arrangements are with institutions and providers that are funded by the German government.

Alle kassen or Kassenarzt is a sign usually posted in the clinics of general practitioners as well as dental surgeries that they are operating within the German public health care infrastructure. You can also borrow a Gelbe Seiten which is the English equivalent for a national directory, more popularly known as the Yellow Pages. Like all directories, it contains information on the different arzte or GPs, apotheken or pharmacies, and krankenhauser or hospital that are near your current location. In instances where you need a medication and the local pharmacies are already closed, you can look on the gelbe seiten for an apotheken notdienst or an emergency pharmacy. These are open round-the-clock so should be able to obtain your medications from these types of pharmacies.

Before 2013, patients receiving care from the public healthcare system were required to pay 10 Euros every time they consulted with a GP or even a dentist. This reflected their contribution to the national health fund. This system has since been removed except for patients who are receiving regular benefits.

If you intend to work in Germany or even stay there for an extended period of time, it is important to register with the gesetzliche krankenkassen or the German health insurance fund. Depending on the fund that you choose, you will receive your krankenversichertenkarte or the German health insurance card. You will need to present this to healthcare authorities whenever you require medical or dental treatment.

Speaking of dental treatments, children below the age of 18 years are treated free of charge. So this should be a welcome news if you plan on traveling to Germany with your kids.

Hospitalization is generally of two types: one via the emergency medical department and one via inpatient admission. If you get hospitalized using the latter method, you first need to seek a referral from a German doctor. You then present your EHIC or even the krankenversichertenkarte, whichever is applicable. There’s a fixed daily hospitalization rate of 10 euros which is good for a maximum of 28 days on an annual basis. For hospitalized children who are not yet 18 years old, the 10 Euro daily hospitalization rate is already waived.

You can obtain your prescribed medications from an apotheken. You will be paying 10 percent of the total cost of the prescribed medication which is subject to a non-refundable fee of 5 Euros but not to exceed 10 Euros. Unfortunately, this is only applicable to medications that are prescribed by German doctors. If you purchase non-prescription or over-the-counter medications such as analgesics, cough and cold remedies, and even antipyretics, you will be paying for the entire cost of these medicines. Again, if the prescribed medicine is for children under 18 years old, the mandatory fees are waived.

If you intend to bring with you your own personal medications, know that German authorities have strict guidelines on what you may bring as well as the quantity of the medications that you may carry with you. You may search the Customs portal of the German government for more information on medication importation.

German healthcare is renowned the world over. That’s why you need to have an EHIC so you, too can avail of these services when you need to. Get your EHIC now using the simple and hassle free service from MyEHIC. It’s reliable and fast so you’ll be receiving your EHIC in no time at all.