Healthcare is free in Germany, but only if you have health insurance that is accepted in the country. If you don’t have suitable coverage, be prepared to pay medical 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 for his time, analyses, and medical prescriptions. In Germany, prices are strictly regulated by the official price list – GOÄ. It states the maximum and minimum rates for a particular treatment. Some typical costs are:
- Consultation: 30 – 60 EUR
- Treatment: 100 EUR
- Analysis and tests: 20 – 100 EUR
- Medicine prescription: 20 – 30 EUR
German health care is one of the best in the world. In Germany, everyone has health insurance which covers all medical expenses of the patient. If you aren’t living in Germany, you often will need to reimburse these costs yourself.
Read this article to learn all the major costs you can expect when visiting a doctor in Germany. If you are particularly looking for the cost of dental care in Germany, read this post.
How much will you pay to visit a doctor in Germany?
Are you planning to visit a doctor in Germany? Whether it’s a regular cold, dental cleaning, or some serious treatment, it’s good to know how much you will pay in the end.
Generally, insurance companies pay for all medical treatments of patients in Germany. But if you don’t have valid insurance for Germany, be ready to pay bills on your own. Taking out one of the cheapest health insurance for Germany will save you a significant amount of money.
Treatments in hospitals and private practices in Germany are never free. Someone will always have to pay, either the health insurance company or the patient.
Since foreigners in Germany often aren’t covered by comprehensive health insurance, they usually have to pay for medical expenses. However, if you have German health insurance, the insurance company pays for many services in full.
A more detailed answer on how high the medical bill is will depend on which treatment you need, how acute the case is, and whether you need hospitalization in the hospital.
First of all, having a health insurance plan in Germany, either private or public, is mandatory by law. There are penalties for not having insurance or adequate coverage if you live in Germany. Tourists will usually be required to have travel health insurance when applying for their German visa.
Visiting a doctor in Germany
So you decided to visit a doctor in Germany; whether symptoms you have, it’s always better to head to the General Practitioner (Hausarzt). They can diagnose and treat pretty much everything. In case of uncertainty, he will send you to a specialist.
With simple issues and general sickness, you should head to the private doctor’s practice (praxis) and not to the hospital. Practices are private mini-clinic managed by self-employed doctors.
The rates for medical services are regulated by law, so a doctor can’t charge a patient more or less than in the official price list. In general, consultation by specialists is usually more expensive than by general doctors.
You should calculate about 30 – 60 EUR for a simple consultation when visiting a doctor in Germany without health insurance. Expect further costs for:
- Medication prescriptions
- Physician letters
- Issuance of certificates (for work, school)
To learn about the cost of various dental treatments, read this article.
Don’t forget that you will need to buy medicine at your own expense in addition to the treatment costs. Doctors in Germany are 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.
Overall, Germany doesn’t increase treatment costs for foreign citizens. However, the medical expenses can add up pretty quickly in Germany. The rates mentioned above are just for one regular visit to the doctor. Each additional service will cost you more.
For example, when it comes to some special treatment, inpatient care, or even surgery, be ready to pay for it. The average cost per inpatient case is 4,000 EUR; if you need intensive care, expect to pay 1,400 EUR for one day and 11,000 EUR on average.
That’s why you always need health insurance when coming to Germany, whether it’s a short visit as a tourist, an exchange semester, or work. Everyone can get affordable coverage that will pay for all treatments they need.
Check out Feather and Ottonova. They provide affordable insurance plans for visitors in Germany.
Expat insurance is one of them, made particularly for someone short-term in Germany. Public health insurance is best if you plan to stay for a long time and earn a small salary.
Higher earners and freelancers should opt for private insurance. Students can choose between public and private insurance.
If you are coming from abroad to Germany to undergo medical treatment or surgery, you can contact the hospital/clinic or agency for detailed pricing information.
In fact, medical tourists have an immense significance for the German economy: the 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 treatment or surgery on a budget and still high quality, check private clinics in Thailand, Malaysia, India, or UAE.
How does German healthcare work?
The government supports German health care. Most treatments, surgeries, and medicaments are free of charge for the patients if they have appropriate insurance and pay monthly contributions.
The health care fund is one of the biggest in Germany (11.6% of GDP), due to the increased need, especially in long-term care. The main reason for this is the rapidly aging German population.
The government regulates all treatment costs and general pricing in medicine, namely the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Medical Association.
Cost of health insurance in Germany
The cost of health insurance 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 will cost you when you are moving abroad.
Read more about healthcare costs in Germany here.
Public insurance in Germany
Statutory or public insurance is the most common in Germany. Around 80% of the German population has statutory insurance, which public insurance companies provide. Read more about public insurance in Germany.
There are 105 public health insurance providers in Germany.
Public health insurance starts from 105 EUR and usually won’t cost you more than 600 EUR per month. The standard way of calculation is 7,3% of your gross monthly salary. You can choose private health insurance, which isn’t based on your income.
All people in Germany pay a different amount for 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
- Students – around 105 EUR per month
- Pensioners – between 109,50 EUR and 126 EUR per month
- Freelancers and self-employed – 14,6% of gross monthly income
Overall, employees with average salaries tend to pay around 400 EUR per month.
If you don’t fit in any of these categories, you can sign for private health insurance at 72 EUR per month.
Private insurance in Germany
Private patients are charged for treatments accordingly to the official price list called GOÄ (read above) in the same way as patients with public health insurance.
The cost of private health insurance isn’t 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 less than older patients with some diseases.
It’s logical; private insurance will need to compensate more often and larger amounts of money to the older person.
Thus, private health insurance is the best option for adults in good health, with higher income and no kids. Additionally, young people with high incomes will undoubtedly save money by choosing private over public.
A young, healthy person can pay as little as 75 EUR monthly for private insurance coverage. Public insurance will deduct accordingly to the salary, so the more you earn, the more you pay.
Some private plans can also be cheaper for international students than public insurance. They can be affordable as 50 EUR, while public insurance starts at 105 EUR. The cheapest private coverage is provided for Feather – only 72 EUR per month.
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 signing a contract, but I haven’t spent any euros this year 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.
Read this article dedicated to the cost of private insurance in Germany.
In the end, both public and private health insurance will cover almost 100% of the expenses you encounter when using medical services in Germany. In most cases, you won’t pay any additional money except your monthly coverage rate.
Learn about dental care in Germany.