Health insurance for foreigners while on holiday

Before leaving for Germany, ask your health insurance agency for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Update: Dec 2013

This will guarantee you direct access to health care and enables you to benefit from medical treatment under the same conditions as a person insured in Germany.

If you are in need of medical care, simply visit a doctor, dentist or hospital and present your EHIC along with a valid I.D. You must fill out a form and choose a German health insurance that will cover the costs initially. If you have forgotten your EHIC, the doctor or dentist or hospital will ask you to pay the fee according to the tariff for the privately insured.

If further treatment is necessary, the doctor will issue a transfer form (“Überweisungsschein”) that you can present to the specialist.

If the doctor prescribes medication, you must pay a deductible of 10 % of the price of the medication, a minimum amount of 5 € and a maximum amount of 10 €, but never more than the actual price of the medication. This deductible is not refundable in Germany. Children under 18 are exempt from this as well as pregnant women when the medication is prescribed for the pregnancy.

In case you had to pay for the medication in advance, ask the doctor and/or pharmacist to provide you with a detailed invoice that you can present to your national health insurance upon your return.

For further information, please contact your national health insurance.

Planned treatment

In case you plan on having medical treatment in Germany, you must distinguish between ambulatory care and hospital care:

Ambulatory care

For ambulatory care there are two possibilities of reimbursement:

  • You may ask for a written confirmation from your medical insurance, stating that they will cover the costs of treatment, before departure. In case this is agreed upon, the insurance will present you with a so-called “S2 document”, which you can present to your doctor in Germany. This document corresponds to an authorization to receive medical treatment in a Member State of the EU and therefore allows you to take advantage of the medical benefits under the same conditions as a person insured in the respective Member State. Please note that your medical insurance is entitled to refuse the issue of the S2 document in case the medical treatment you have planned is not covered according to your countries national legal provisions for health care.
  • Upon your return, you may ask your medical insurance to reimburse you for your costs of treatment. Please note that the reimbursement is subject to certain legal conditions.

The insurance fund will examine the request to verify that the conditions foreseen by your national law are respected and, this being the case, will then proceed with the reimbursement on the basis of the tariffs that are applicable in your country; Know that the amount of reimbursement cannot, in any case, exceed the costs foreseen for the same treatment in your country.

Hospital treatment

For hospital treatment, it is absolutely necessary that you ask your insurance for the confirmation to cover the costs before your departure. In case this is agreed upon, they will provide you with the document S2 to cover the treatment costs in Germany.

The Authorization can be refused only in the following two cases:

  • If treatment is not covered according to your national legal provisions,
  • In the event where an identically adequate treatment can be provided in your home country, taking into consideration your health condition and its expected development.

In order for your medical insurance to hand out the document S2, it is necessary for you to specify the nature of the treatment you wish to undergo along with the medical reasons and present an individual treatment plan for the hospital in Germany in the language of the country where the insurance is situated.

Otherwise, you can pay the treatment costs in advance and then ask for a reimbursement from your medical insurance fund upon your return.

Please note, however, that you run the risk of not being fully reimbursed in this case.

Private health insurance

If you have private health insurance, you must check your contract carefully in case there are notable differences concerning the reimbursement of medical treatment abroad. It is advisable to contact your insurance on this matter.

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