5 things you should know about healthcare in Germany

Relocating to Germany? Ensuring that you and your family will be properly covered for healthcare is one of the top priorities you’ll need to factor in for your relocation. Have you figured out how the healthcare system works, or how will you gain access to healthcare as an expat?

Whether you are planning to move to Germany, or you are a newly arrived expat settling in the country, you may find that things are quite different to what you may be used to. To help ease your navigation through the German healthcare system, here’s a list of 5 things we think you should keep in mind.

  1. Health insurance is mandatory

Health insurance is mandatory for expatriates living in Germany. There are three options for health insurance while living in Germany; the government-regulated public health insurance system (GKV), private health insurance from a German or international insurance company (PKV) or a combination of the two. You can opt for full private plans if your income is above a certain threshold or if you are self- employed.

If you move to Germany to live and work, you will need to register with a German health insurance fund before you can use the state healthcare system. Most employees in Germany are covered by the social insurance system. In order to receive health treatment from a doctor, hospital or clinic you will need to show your social insurance card, which will be issued to you once you have registered as employed or self-employed in Germany.

  1. Top quality care

Healthcare in Germany focuses on giving the best quality of medical care, and the system has been rated as one of the best in the world. High quality care can be expected wherever you go in Germany, although the level of privacy and comfort that patients receive can vary.

  1. All about efficiency

In addition to great quality care, the healthcare system in Germany is well known to be highly efficient. Waiting times for treatment are reportedly very low, and care for the ill and elderly patients is regarded as very good.

  1. It’s expensive

Expatriates in Germany are obliged to be covered by a registered insurer. For most foreign nationals who travel considerably and require international coverage, the compulsory medical insurance can be quite expensive. Purchasing a plan from international private medical insurance companies can be a more affordable and convenient option for many expats, depending on the circumstances but remember you may still be required to have state insurance so it is important you take advice on your responsibilities and factor this into any decision when taking out international private medical insurance.

  1. The right cover can make life much easier

Like many other aspects of life abroad, understanding how the healthcare system works in a new country can be a daunting process – and that’s when an international health insurance plan could make all the difference. If you do decide to take out a health insurance plan, make sure you do your research, know what providers are offering and get the plan that’s best for you and your circumstances.

Cigna Global Health Options specializes in health insurance policies for expats. We offer flexible plans  providing our customers access to a global network of over 1 million hospitals, clinics and doctors, and a 24/7 customer helpline that can help you find a doctor who speaks your language, wherever you are.

For more information on Cigna Global Health Options, or to get a quote online, visit www.CignaGlobal.com


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