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Moving to Germany | Understanding the German health care system

| Anna |

Przeprowadzka do Niemiec | Zrozumienie niemieckiego systemu opieki zdrowotnej.

Moving to Germany involves a variety of issues, including familiarisation with the local healthcare system. The healthcare system in Germany is one of the most developed in the world, offering high quality medical services.

The German healthcare system is based on a health insurance model that covers all residents of the country. Two types of health insurance operate in parallel in Germany: statutory health insurance (GKV) and private health insurance (PKV). Approximately 90% of the population is covered by statutory health insurance, which is based on the principle of solidarity – premiums are based on the financial capacity of the insured, but medical services are the same for everyone.

Key aspects to know about the German healthcare system:

Health insurance in Germany

Health insurance is compulsory for all German residents. You can choose between public insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and private insurance (Private Krankenversicherung). Most people use the public health insurance.

Access to medical services

With health insurance, you have access to a wide range of medical services, including GP appointments, specialists, hospitalisation and prescription drugs.

Choosing a doctor after moving to Germany

In Germany, patients have the right to choose their family doctor and specialists. You can change your doctor at any time.

Fees and surcharges for insurance

Although most costs are covered by health insurance, in some cases there may be small co-payments, for example for certain prescription drugs or specialised medical procedures.

Quality of healthcare in Germany

Germany is renowned for its high quality healthcare, including modern hospitals, skilled doctors and advanced medical technology.

Health care for foreigners after moving to Germany

As a new resident, you will need to register with the German healthcare system. Depending on your status, this may require some formalities.

Language after moving to Germany

Although many doctors speak English, it is useful to know the basics of German to facilitate communication in medical facilities.

Emergency assistance

Germany has the emergency number 112, which can be called in case of medical emergencies.

Ubezpieczenia po przeprowadzce do Niemiec

Private health insurance (PKV) is available to people with a certain income or to civil servants. With PKV, patients first pay the bills themselves and are then reimbursed by their health insurance company.

Both foreigners working and studying in Germany must be insured. It is worth bearing in mind that the legally established benefits are the same for everyone, but individual insurance companies may offer different additional benefits.

For the self-employed, those registered as unemployed and citizens of certain EU countries, it is possible to be covered by state health insurance, even if they are not employed in Germany. However, it is important that they can show that they had state health insurance in their home country.

However, it should be noted that private health insurance is often associated with better quality medical services and shorter waiting times to see a doctor. However, with private insurance, family members are not automatically covered, as is the case with state insurance.

The German healthcare system is facing the challenges of cost control and an ageing population, which could lead to a greater burden on the system, especially in terms of geriatric care and chronic diseases.

Choosing insurance after a move

When choosing between private and state insurance, it is worth considering your own needs and financial possibilities. State health insurance is relatively cheaper, especially if your earnings are not high and your employer covers half of the insurance costs.

International relocation

Moving to another country always presents challenges, but being aware of the local healthcare system can make the adaptation much easier. It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the local laws and rules in order to take full advantage of the health services available.