Healthcare in Germany

This article provides you with information on health in Germany. We have tried to include all the relevant information concerning travel to Germany and your stay in Germany; however, the information provided is not fully detailed on all points and should be viewed as a guide, not as a verbatim statement of the law.

Update: Dec 2013

  • For a citizen of the European Union with statutory health insurance who gets sick in Germany or is a victim of an accident, a refund for the necessary medical expenses can be obtained if the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) has been presented to the German doctor or in a German hospital before treatment
  • The card is available at your health insurance board. It’s an individualized card, so each member of your family should have one.
  • When presenting your card to the doctor, you shouldn’t have to pay for the treatment. However, please note that some health professionals may not know the mechanism of the EHIC. It is therefore advisable to carefully check any form you are asked to sign in order to make sure that all the information concerning your insurance is correct (e.g. that you are not treated as a privately insured patient). If you are not able to present your EHIC, the doctor or hospital will ask you to pay the treatment costs according to the tariffs for a privately insured person, these tariffs being usually higher.
  • If you have a chronic condition and are likely to need treatment abroad, you should contact your health provider for information about appropriate medical centres for your stay in Germany and about any associated costs.
  • In case you wish to receive medical treatment in Germany, you must distinguish between ambulatory care and hospital care, as the rules for reimbursement of the treatment costs differ. For more information please click here.
  • It may be useful to pay for an additional travel insurance that covers additional costs such as the transport back home.

Third countries (non-EU countries)

  • If you are coming from a country that is not a Member State of the European Union and your home country has no special agreement with Germany with regard to social insurance, you are not protected by the compulsory health insurance in Germany. Since you would have to pay the costs for the medical treatment yourself, we recommend that you take up a private health insurance that covers any medical or transport costs when abroad.


Pharmacy and medical care

  • There is a large network of pharmacies in towns and cities and, although the opening hours are generally the same as for other shops, there is always an emergency pharmacy open at night, on Sundays and during bank holidays. The address of the nearest emergency pharmacy is usually written on the door of the ones that are closed. Alternatively, this information may be obtained online by entering “Notapotheke” and the name of your town/city in the search engine mask.
  • For certain types of medicines, a prescription provided by a doctor is needed. Other medicines are sold without prescription over the counter. The pharmacist will be able to give you further information.

Emergency numbers

  • Medical emergencies: 112
  • Police emergencies: 110
  • Fire Service emergencies: 112

For further information, the European Consumer Centres (ECCs) will be pleased to help you. You can find further information and a complete list of all ECCs here.



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