Healthcare and Medical System

Germany has healthcare of high quality with many services being available, it is also less likely that expats will need to wait for treatments. Those that are living and residing in the country may be eligible for state healthcare providing that you register with the state health insurance in Germany.  If not, you must ensure that you are covered by a private health care insurance provider.

The healthcare system is one of the oldest in the EU and with the experience of doctors it makes it the best health care system in the world. There are more than 2,000 hospitals in the country and half of these are public with two different types of private hospitals – Non-profit and for profit.

It is funded by the statutory contributions which ensures that healthcare is free for all. Private health care insurance can also be taken out. However, strict conditions are in place about who must register for a mandatory state of health insurance and who can opt in favour of private health insurance.

Expats who have a foreign health insurance policy are able to use this when visiting Germany temporarily but will be asked to pay cash at the end of their visit. Those who are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland who staying on a temporary basis the EHIC card can be used, this allows you to get medical treatment for free or discounted.  German health insurance will be compulsory to take out once you have become an official resident.

Health Insurance Scheme

Employees that earn less than EUR 57,600 a year will have to take part in the government health scheme and this means you must take out health insurance once the work contract has been signed.

The health insurance scheme covers primary care with the hospital (in and outpatients), basic dental treatment and care with doctors who are registered. Non-working dependants who live at the same address and are registered with the Krankenkasse are also covered with no extra charges in place.

However, the health insurance scheme does not cover consultations with private doctors, complimentary treatments, dental implants and glasses.

Expats who are in this scheme will have employers paying 50% for the health insurance and the other 50% is paid by yourself. The rates are generally set by the German government but for the state, healthcare expats would need to pay 15% of the monthly salary. If you earn more than 4350 Euros per month, you have the option of de-registering from the state health insurance to take our private health insurance.

It is important that when you are visiting the doctor, your health insurance card should be shown. If a prescription is required you will need to pay for this which you will be reimbursed for.

Private HealthCare

Those who choose to go out of the state health insurance are able to get private health insurance cover. These are generally those who are

  • Earning more than EUR 57,600
  • Working part-time and earning less than EUR 450
  • Self employed
  • Freelance professional
  • Civil servant or certain other public employees

Private healthcare insurance usually covers more of a wide range of medical and dental treatments. Employers also contribute to private health insurance fees and if you are not eligible for state health insurance you can take out private health insurance from local or expat health insurance companies. Some of the largest international ones include – Bupa, Axa and PPP international.

How to register

To register on the health care system you must do this with the German authorities at the local town hall. Once registration is completed, a social insurance number will be given to you which you will then start to make national insurance contributions, this will then allow you to have state run healthcare which is the same as the German nationals.

Health Card

When you have taken out health insurance, you will be given a health card which you will be required to take every time you visit the GP, dentist or a specialist. The card will have your name, date of birth, address as well as your health insurance data.

The card, which contains your name, date of birth, address and health insurance data, is scanned when you visit a medical service.


Around Germany, there are many pharmacies available and are easy to find with the red A on their sign.

It is a legal requirement that pharmacies are owned and run by a qualified pharmacist but each is only allowed to own three pharmacies around the country. All medicines in the pharmacy are kept behind the counter and only a selection of health products will be available on the shelves.


There are no vaccinations which will be needed by expats when moving to Germany. However, you must ensure you have the routine vaccinations such as:

  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella
  • Hepatitis B

Emergency Services

For medical emergencies, you will need to dial 112 which is an emergency helpline with medical professionals who are able to speak some English.

To call an ambulance you will need to dial 115. The majority of the private hospitals and other hospitals in Germany have an accident and emergency unit.