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What You Need To Know About Germany's Healthcare System

September 02, 2021
There's a reason why so many people want to move to Germany. It's not that it's a wealthy country where you might have a better chance to live a more stable lifestyle. It's not the progressive society that welcomes all, regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation, and the like. And it's not because it's a beautiful country itself. Though all of these ring true, it's Germany's healthcare system that has a lot of people planning to relocate here. It ranks among the top 25 in the world, giving ample coverage and benefits to those who get access. Here's what you need to know about it.

What You Need To Know About Germany's Healthcare System

Can You Get Access to Germany's Healthcare

As with any other healthcare system around the world, the first question you ought to ask is 'can I get access to Germany's healthcare?' The answer depends on your legal status in the country. If you've become a legal resident of Germany, this will automatically make you eligible for the country's public coverage. Germany's healthcare operates as a universal system, allowing all legal residents access to it. It's the same with the likes of France, Italy, and more. All you have to do is legally move to Germany and register for its healthcare system. It's as easy as that!

Healthcare and Your Employment in Germany

There are certain caveats, however, for adults who want to gain access to Germany's healthcare system. And this particularly relates to your employment in the country. Although you can still register for the system even if you're unemployed, there are certain types of coverage that focus on your income. After all, based on Germany's tax system, social security contributions, which pay for the country's healthcare system, take up a huge part of your income tax. For instance, if you earn less than €57,600.00 a year, you will need to part of Gesetzliche Krankenversicherun (GKV), a healthcare scheme that allows you to register the moment you sign your work contract.

What You Need To Know About Germany's Healthcare System

How To Register for German Healthcare

Now, let's say you're done with all the legal paperwork and you've become a full-fledged legal resident of Germany. How then can you gain access to the country's healthcare system? Firstly, you have to go to your local town hall (called Einwohnermeldeamt) and register there. Once you do, you'll get a German social insurance number (or Sozialversicherungsnummer) and this will help you start. When you have your social insurance number, this will then allow you to get a health insurance card (also known as Krankenversichertenkarte) and you have to always bring this with you when you go for check-ups, get treated, and the like! Since 2014, the health insurance card has gone digital and you can save it on all of your devices.

Private Healthcare in Germany

As already mentioned, gaining access to Germany's healthcare is exclusive to citizens and legal residents of the country. But what if you're neither? How can you get healthcare in Germany then? Well, your only option is to get private insurance. Now it's important to note that Germany has its own private medical coverage for legal residents, called Private Krankenversicherung (PKV), which is reserved for those who earn more than €57,600.00 a year, the self-employed, freelance workers, civil servants, and the like. You still can't gain access to this if you're a non-resident. All you can do is to get a plan from international providers like Allianz Care, Cignal Global, and the like.

What You Need To Know About Germany's Healthcare System

Germany's Pharmacies

Pharmacies, or Apotheke, in Germany operate from 9:00 am to 18:00 (6:00) pm every Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, they only stay open until 12:00 pm noon. And when it comes to medication, dosage use rarely appears on the bottle or boxes themselves. You will need to get a prescription for most of the medicine you'll buy in pharmacies to know the right dosage. Furthermore, prescriptions differ in terms of the type of medical coverage. Those under Germany's public option often get pink slips (which come with a charge of €5.00 to €10.00) and those with private insurance get blue slips (which allows you to get reimbursement for your purchase).

What To Do During an Emergency

In the event of a medical emergency, dial Germany's emergency hotline, 112, to get an ambulance sent to your location. If you need an emergency doctor, you can also dial 19-242. This will help lead you or the patient to the ER, or Notaufnahme to get emergency treatment. Do note that both public health coverage and private insurance cover emergency services. Moreover, ambulance services are free of charge; it's the ER and the subsequent emergency treatment that you'll have to pay for. And if you don't have a local SIM card yet and you can't dial the emergency hotline, simply say 'Ich brauche einen Krankenwagen,' which means 'I need an ambulance!'

What You Need To Know About Germany's Healthcare System

You need to know more about Germany's healthcare system if you have any plans of coming to the country. How else will you get medical treatment and emergency services while you're here? As well as the different options available for you!

You'll need to stay healthy in Germany in order to enjoy the finer things in life here, especially your luxury home here that much quicker!



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