How the Medical system works in Germany

The German health system is known as one of the most competitive in the world. The entire country maintains high-quality medical equipment and physicians, including in less urban areas.

 The German health system is organized according to two principles: the public health insurance scheme, which is compulsory for any employee earning less than gross €64,350/year* (optional for people who earn more) and the private health insurance scheme, intended for people earning more than €64,350 for at least three years, as well as freelance workers and civil servants.

No medical questionnaire is required to join the public health insurance scheme. Your employer will enroll you directly with the public health insurance fund that you choose. If you take out a private health insurance plan, please note that this choice is almost permanent as there are many constraints to go back to the public system.

*limit in 2021

Visiting a doctor in Germany

Primary care physicians

Upon your enrollment, you must choose a practitioner for the entire duration of the quarter. You can change your practitioner at any time, but due to the shortage of doctors in Germany, it may be difficult to find a new one.

 Though most German physicians speak good English, it can be helpful to find one that speaks your language. You can contact the embassy of your country to find out which physicians speak your language. Please note that some physicians ONLY accept patients who are covered under the private health insurance scheme. It is important that you check this information before going to a medical office.

 If you are covered by the public scheme, you can use the app called “” to find a practitioner who will accept you.

 Please note, doctors’ offices are rarely open on Wednesday and Friday afternoon.

General practitioners

If you are covered by the public health insurance scheme, you do not have to pay for your consultations (directly paid by the health insurance fund to the physician).


Under the public scheme, you often need to see your primary care physician first before going to a specialist. This step is not required if you are covered under a private insurance scheme. You may have to wait a long time before getting an appointment (several weeks). As public and private healthcare plans do not cover all medical specialties: we advise you to check with your health insurance fund before requesting certain types of consultations. If a specialty is not covered by your insurance plan, we recommend that you find a “regular” doctor who also provides medical services for the specialty in question: in that case, the consultation will be reimbursed.


Being admitted to hospital in Germany

Hospitals provide high-quality medical care as each facility (public, private or university) is committed to quality administration and care. Except for certain private hospitals, they are available to anyone who has healthcare insurance.

The cost of hospital care can be quite high, which is why it is important to check the level of your coverage before going to the hospital.

Buying medication in Germany

Prescription drugs are covered. However, a deductible applies, amounting to 10% of the total price, which must be comprised between €5 and €10. Over-the-counter drugs are not reimbursed by any public or private healthcare insurance.

Source: MSH International