Germany has a very modern, high-quality public healthcare system. Due to compulsory health insurance, every person in Germany can enjoy quality healthcare. The Freiburg – Southern Upper Rhine region offers a wide selection of general practitioners, specialists, and hospitals. Below you will find tips about statutory health insurance services and emergency assistance.
If you have job in Germany that requires you to make social security contributions, you are also covered by some form of statutory or private health insurance. Should you become ill, your insurance company will cover the cost of medical treatment. Here’s a brief list of the kinds of services provided by health insurance:
Outpatient medical treatments
Inpatient hospital stays and treatments
Medically necessary rehabilitation measures
Services for pregnant women and childbirth
Statutory health insurance plans cover both spouses under the same policy (so-called family insurance). However, this is only the case if one of the spouses is unemployed. The same is true for children.
Health insurance card: as a statutory health insurance member, you will receive an electronic health insurance card that you must present at every doctor’s visit. The physician will then settle the costs directly with your health insurance company.
You are free to decide which doctor you prefer to see. The first point of contact is usually your general practitioner or family doctor, who may then refer you to a specialist or hospital if necessary. You can find a doctor you trust at KVWB (only availabel in German), where you can also ask about doctors that speak your language.
Tip: You should usually make a doctor’s appointment in advance over the phone. This reduces waiting times. In urgent cases, however, you can also go directly to the doctor.
Tip: If you need medical help and your doctor is currently unavailable, you can get in touch with medical emergency services using the toll-free number 116 117.
You can only get medicine from the pharmacy with a prescription, and you only have to pay a portion of the total costs. Prescriptions will be given to you by your doctor. The pharmacies will also sell you commercially available drugs without a prescription, which you must pay for by yourself in full.
You should only go directly to the hospital in an emergency. Normally, your family doctor or general practitioner will first refer you to the hospital. Costs for a hospital stay are extremely high, but usually covered by health insurance. If you’re unsure, you should definitely ask about which treatment costs will be covered by your insurance in advance.
What to do in an emergency?
In the case of an emergency, you have two options:
Call 112 if you’re in danger or have a serious injury. This number will connect you to emergency and rescue services. This number is valid anywhere is Germany, and an ambulance is sure to reach you in no more than 15 minutes. No phone charges apply to this emergency number.
If physically able, you can also drive yourself to a hospital emergency room. Emergency rooms are open 24/7.
On weekends, public holidays or at night, you can get help from the medical emergency and on-call services at the hospital or from a doctor or pharmacy close to you. Many local newspapers provide information daily about which doctors and pharmacies are available in such cases.
You can find detailed information about this topic in the healthcare section of the “Make it in Germany” website.
You can also find information about Germany’s different health insurance options in various languages below: