Health Insurance in Germany: As you might know, governmental health insurance is one of the main components of the German social security system and everyone who either lives, resides or visits Germany must have a valid health insurance. Health insurance is designed for your personal safety, which is mandatory for all persons resident in Germany.
How does the German health insurance work?
Insurance covers the costs of medical treatment and applies when the patient cannot pay the doctor himself. There is a choice between state health insurance and private health insurance in Germany.
Employees and workers who have a contract of employment must also be insured by the work provider, which means that the employer pays half the costs of the treatment. In addition, the amounts of treatment are automatically deducted from the worker’s salary every month.
What about the European citizens?
As a citizen of the European Union, you are entitled under certain circumstance to health insurance coverage by the health insurance organization in your country. This is, of course, restricted to emergency treatment. It is therefore recommended that you, as a citizen of an EU country, join the German Health Insurance system as soon as possible. In the case of a contract of employment as a worker, there is also compulsory insurance.
What does the insurance in Germany cover?
Every person who lives in Germany and pays a health insurance fee gets a health insurance card. A person with a health insurance card can review any doctor without the “medical treatment voucher”. However, health insurance often covers the costs of medical checks and basic medical examinations only. For some special things, such as for replacement teeth or glasses, health insurance companies sometimes do not pay for such expenses.
The health insurance in Germany covers the medical treatment, for example:
- Outpatient medical treatment.
- Basic dental care services.
- Permanent residence, and hospitalization.
- Necessary medical rehabilitation measures.
- Services of pregnant women and delivery.
As an International, what kind of insurance do I need?
Internationals who come from the European Economic Community (EEC) can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) but this is only if the country is bound by social insurance agreements with Germany, including the health insurance system where the international can benefit from services in Germany.
The range of services provided depends on the agreement between the two countries. If your country is not within the European Economic Community and does not have any social insurance agreements with Germany, then you must take out a private health insurance or an insurance that is valid worldwide for the duration of your stay in Germany.
If you think that you need health insurance only in cases of severe illness and emergency, you are wrong. If you have an accident while playing sports, or even when shopping around the city, which results in you needing to go to the hospital, you will be liable for the expenses. The medical fees and costs will be high, and it is likely as a visitor that you would find it very difficult to pay; yet insurance saves you the hassle, and all invoices can be paid by the private insurance company.