Healthcare is free in Germany, but only if you have insurance which is valid and accepted by the country. If you don’t have it be prepared to pay doctor’s bills from your own pocket. Do you need to see a doctor while visiting Germany? What is the cost of medical treatment in Germany?
By visiting a doctor you must compensate his time, all analyses and prescriptions of medicine. GOÄ is an official price list for medical service costs, which gives maximum and minimum rate for a particular treatment. Common costs for regular doctor visit:
- Treatment 50 – 100 EUR
- Analysis and Tests 20 – 100 EUR
- Medicine Prescription 20 – 30 EUR
It’s also not uncommon for people to travel to Germany for treatment. It’s not a surprise since German healthcare is one of the best in the world.
How much you will pay to visit a doctor in Germany
Since Germany is a popular destination for medical tourism, but also for people who if living here its good to know how much treatment by a doctor is actually costs.
Treatment in hospitals and private practices in Germany is never free. Someone will always have to pay – and as foreigners are usually not covered by social security health insurance this will usually be the patient.
A more detailed answer will depend on which treatment do you need, how acute is the case, is you need a hospitalization or not. In this article, you will find all the major costs you can except.
First of all, a health insurance plan, either private or public, is mandatory by law, and there are penalties for not having adequate cover or insurance at all if you are living in Germany.
Insurance companies pay for all medical treatments of patients. But if you don’t have insurance which is valid for Germany, be ready to pay bills on your own.
So you decided to visit a doctor in Germany whatever symptoms you have its always better head to the General Practitioner (Hausarzt) he can diagnose and treat pretty much everything.
In case of uncertainty, he will send you to the specialized professional.
Usually will some symptoms or general feeling ill you will head to the private so-called practice (praxis) and not to the hospital. It’s a private mini-clinic which is managed by a self-employed doctor.
The rates for medical service is regulated by law, so a doctor can’t charge a patient more or less than in official pricelist. In general, Consultation by the specialists is usually more expensive than by general doctors.
Don’t forget that in addition to this treatment costs you will need to buy medicine at your own costs. Doctors in Germany obligated to prescribe the most inexpensive medicaments instead of overpriced brands.
Thanks to the German honest, reliable and straightforward nature, they also don’t prescribe unnecessary tests, drugs or medical manipulations.
However, the medical expenses can add up pretty quickly in Germany, these rates mentioned above just for one regular visit to the doctor, each additional service will cost you more. But overall Germany doesn’t practice increasing treatment costs for foreign citizens.
For example, if we are speaking about some special treatment, inpatient care or even surgery be ready to get broken.. The average cost per inpatient case 4,000 EUR, if you need intensive care count with 1,400 EUR for one day and with 11,000 EUR on average for case.
However, there are people coming to Germany to undergo medical treatment or surgery. In this case, you will need to contact the hospital/clinic or agency for more detailed information about pricing.
Working in the hospital I have seen many foreign passengers coming for operation or treatment in Germany. It’s wasn’t that surprising for neurology and surgery departments where I was fortunate to have my internships.
If you plan a surgery or serious treatment in Germany contact a hospital and ask about consultation is recommended. German clinics accept thousands of foreign patients, refuses aren’t common.
In fact, medical tourists have a big significance for the German economy: this way country receives 1.2 billion EUR each year.
Overall, the price of a single diagnostic or treatment procedure in Germany is higher than in most developing countries.
If you are looking for a treatment or surgery on a budget and still high quality, check private clinics in Thailand, Malaysia, India or UAE.
How German Health Care Works?
German health care financially supported by the government and private insurance companies. Most of the treatments, surgeries, medicaments are free of charge for the patients if they have appropriate insurance and pay monthly contributions (we will talk later about that).
The health care fund is one of the biggest in Germany (11.6% of GDP), due to the increased need especially in longterm care. The main reason for this is the rapidly aging German population.
As I mentioned above all treatment costs and general pricing in medicine are regulated by the government, namely the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Medical Association.
Cost of Health Insurance in Germany
The cost of healthcare coverage can range from 60 EUR to 1,500 EUR per month, depending on your circumstances and the insurance company. Let’s take a look at the costs in more detail.
Healthcare insurance is mandatory by law in Germany, which means it’s essential that you calculate how much it is going to cost you when you’re budgeting for a move to the country.
The majority of people, even international students, will need to register for public healthcare insurance, however, some individuals are only eligible to choose a private insurance plan.
Also read more about health care costs in Germany here.
Public insurance in Germany
Statutory or public insurance is the most popular and also cheaper way to get access to medical care in Germany. Around 80% of the German population has statutory insurance which is provided by the government.
There are 105 statutory health insurance companies, which differ significantly in terms of price and coverage.
The public health insurance starts from 75 EUR and usually won’t cost you more than 600 EUR per month. The standard way of calculation is 7,3% from your gross monthly salary. If you don’t work there are other ways to calculate it, the insurance company will do it for you.
All people in Germany pay a different amount for the statutory (public) health insurance:
- Employees – a total of 14,6% of the gross monthly income, 7,3% paid by the employer and another half by the worker.
- Families of the employees – free
- Trainee – between 63,54 EUR and 69,28 EUR per month
- Students – between 76,04 EUR and 96,12 EUR per month
- Pensioner – between 109,50 EUR and 126,00 EUR per month
- Freelancers and self-employed – 14,6% of gross monthly income
Overall, employees with average salaries tend to pay around 200 EUR per month.
If you don’t fit in any of these categories the standard price for you will be 150 EUR per month.
Private insurance in Germany
Private patients in the same way as patients with public health insurance are also charged accordingly to the official price list called GOÄ (read above).
The cost of private health insurance called PKV in Germany is not regulated in the same way as the cost of public healthcare and can, therefore, vary hugely in price.
Younger people with good health and no chronic illness will pay significantly more than older patients with some diseases.
And this is logical, private insurance will need to compensate larger and more regular amounts of money to the older person than to the younger.
Private insurance can be a better choice, it won’t depend on your income. Usually, private providers set their rates independently and moreover, offer better coverage. Check out the most recommended insurance in Germany, Ottonova, it’s especially structured for foreign employees, expats, freelancers, and self-employed.
Thus, private health insurance can be of particular interest to adults in good health who have no kids and plan to stay in Germany for a short time.
Additionally, young people with high incomes will certainly make savings by choosing private over public.
A young, healthy person can pay as little as 175 EUR a month for private insurance, without relation to the income. Public insurance will deduct accordingly to the salary, so more you earn more you pay.
On another hand, so-called high-risk patients, who are older and have preconditions may have to pay as high as 1,500 per EUR month for private coverage.
Some private plans can also be cheaper for international students over public insurance. They can be cheap as 50 EUR when public insurance starts at 76 EUR.
In my first year in Austria, I paid as little as 35 EUR for my private insurance. The health care system in both countries is very similar.
Some private plans might not cover everything, so you need to pay attention when you sign up a contract, but during this year I haven’t paid any euro from my pocket.
As you can see, the cost of healthcare insurance in Germany ranges widely depending on whether you have private or public coverage, and also the extra costs associated with the cheap private plans.
In the end the public health insurance ist always a secure way to be covered in Germany. Moreover, you never will have to pay bills, because the doctor will address it straight to the insurance.
In the case of private coverage, the patient pays upfront and claims it after by the insurance company. Overall, public healthcare, unless you are a very high earner, is the more financially beneficial solution.
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