“Bist du krank?”
Are you sick? – Get used to listen to this question almost everyday because… the weather is so crazy in Germany!
One day we wake up in a 20 degrees sunny day and the day after it is rainning and the temperature does not reach the 10 degrees.
Spring season is back!
Germans love drinking tea as a first step to recover themselves from sickness, however, and just in case this german technique is not helping you, we would like to let you know how the german healthcare system works.
German healthcare system
The german healthcare system assures universal coverage to all the citizens. Therefore the most recommended thing to do when you register yourself as a resident in Germany is to take out a Krankenkasse (a public health insurance company).
In case of unemployement you will have to carry out a fix monthly payment (between 140-160€) to the Krankenkasse that you choose. However, if you are employed, an amount of 8,2% of your income will be substracted to pay the public health insurance.
If you are willing to have more coverage you can always enrolle in a private insurance. In this case be aware of two things; the older you are the more expensive the insurance will be, and the doctors you can attend to are usually the same in both cases (with public and private insurance).
How to go to the doctor
In Germany practitioners are not associate to the Krankenkasse, so the best option, if you need to visit one, is to google it or to ask a friend if he can recommend you a good doctor.
If you are a european citizen and you are living in Germany for a short period of time (2-3 months) you can always use the european health insurance card and you won´t need to pay for the consultation.
In case you are a resident in Germany you will be asked to show your Krankenkasse card every time you visit the practitioner.
First of all you have to visit the Allgemeinarzt (general practitioner) and then he will transfer you to a specialized medical practitioner.
Allgemeinarzt practices have also their own laboratory, in case some blood tests are required. However, if you need more specific tests the doctor will transfer you to another practicioner (in most of the cases you will have to look for one on your own, so check google or talk to your friends once again for a recommendation).
Taking time off for sickness
If you are employed you can take a day off to stay at home without going to the doctor, however, after the second day you will need to visit him to get diagnosed and to take time off for sickness.
In Germany it is really easy to book off sick at the office since they are really afraid of being contagious, therefore they prefer to stay at home instead of going to work (a time off sick due to a light cold can last 3 days).
In comparison to other european countries Germany is really cautious regarding the selling of medical products. Basic things such as peroxide and mercurchrome are hard to buy without a prescription.
Whenever you need to go to the pharmacy visit your doctor first and ask him for a presciption. If you contract a public insurance it will take care of the costs of medicines.
Following you can find a list of the existing Krankenkassen and the private health insurance companies in Germany.
- Krankenkassen: http://krankenkassen.focus.de/
- Private health insurances: https://www.krankenkassen.de/private-krankenversicherung/pkv-liste/
I hope it was a usefull post and you enjoy a nice spring season!