It does not matter if you are a student, or if you are going to work or live in Germany, in any case you will definitely need a German health insurance. It is a must. You have to pay insurance fees monthly. Depending on your income and occupation the fees will vary. To get your own insurance quote click here.
Having this insurance, will allow you to use services of all types of medical practices and hospitals around the whole Germany.
In Germany you will find lots of medical practices. Usually if a person is ill, he/she won ́t go directly to a hospital, but first to a medical practice. Ask a contact trusted person or other expats for advice where to go as not every physician is fluent in English. Generally a general practitioner will send you to a specialist if you have that special need.
In case of an emergency you should go to a hospital or call 112 – which connects you to the closest emergency service where ever you are in Germany.
Treatment in a medical practice
In order to receive treatment, you need to make an appointment in advance. If there is no emergency, the waiting time for those appointments is very long. If the pain is strong, do not hesitate and call a physician and tell him you are in pain and you will get a time slot, usually with a lesser waiting time in the clinic.
If you are working in Germany you most likely will need a doctor’s certificate if you are ill. The time by which you do need this certificate may be different for each individual and may also vary from company to company. But in general you need to show/send the certificate to the employer at latest by the third day.
Normally, everybody has a personal doctor and this person should be the first address to contact if there is something wrong with your health and you don ́t know exactly what it is about. This doctor, also called general practitioner (Allgemeinarzt), will examine your blood and will immediately give further advice, either to go for further medical tests or to obtain medicine from the pharmacy. The consultation charges are covered by the health insurance.
Getting medication with/without a prescription
If you have a prescription for a special kind of medicine (from a German doctor), you will get it for free or by paying a part of the total sum in the pharmacy. Many Germans just go to a pharmacy and describe their symptoms. They also get the medicine in this case, but only if it is free from prescription. Thus, they save waiting time in the clinic.
You will learn more about the German Health Care System on the following websites:
Please note that hospitals and medical practices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Indian Buddy Tipps:
- In case you are in a very bad state and it is a weekend – go to a hospital.
Bathroom usage – toilet culture
A bathroom in Germany usually contains a toilet, a bathtub (or a shower) and a wash basin. The most important difference between Indian and German bathrooms are related to drainage and toilet paper.
First, there is only one drain hole in the bathtub and none on the bathroom floor. So, be careful while taking a shower and don’t splash the water around too much. Usually, there will be a shower curtain or shower stall, which prevents the water from spilling outside the showering area.
The second difference concerns toilet culture. Immediately, you will find out that the system of using water after using the toilet does not exist in Germany. Toilet paper use is the standard. Toilet paper is available in different options like super deluxe (4-5 layers of paper) or even recycled paper (labelled with a blue angel (Blauer Engel) a label for recycled paper. Wet toilet papers are also available.
FUN FACT: 84% of the Germans fold their toilet paper, while 8% just crumple it up and another 8% do both of it. If you are not used to toilet paper – just ask a good friend what they prefer and let them show you their distinct folding style.