How to deal with hospital and clinics


Germany has state-maintained (public) hospitals, charitable/non-profit hospitals (mainly religiously affiliated) and private hospitals.

A university clinic will be found in most university towns where you can go for outpatient treatment. Hospital care is generally excellent and medical facilities usually have the latest technology.

All hospitals, with the exception of some private clinics, are open to all insured patients. In fact, some private hospitals will only accept people who have private insurance or can pay for the expenses themselves. Note also that if you have a statutory insurance, you will have to check with your insurer that the hospital will cover your treatment costs. Normally doctors transfer patients to a hospital and control of treatment is then managed by a doctor there.

Hospitals in Germany aren't cheap! All fees have to be paid for either by you or your insurance company. Even in the case of an emergency, there is no such thing as "free treatment". If it is your decision whether or not to go into hospital, check your cover with your insurance company.

When going to a hospital or clinic, take proof of your health insurance with you (although you're unlikely to be refused in case of emergencies). You will need your health insurance card, a referral (from a doctor) and your passport. If you are admitted to hospital, your health insurance will cover the costs of that stay. However, state patients pay a small daily rate for the first 14 days of their stay (see our section on health insurance for details).

The room you get depends on your health insurance scheme. If privately insured, you will probably get a single or double room. If state insured, you will probably share with two or three others. Bring a night-dress or pyjamas, towels and toiletries to the hospital. Don't bring too much, as you may only have a small locker for your belongings.

All hospitals run a special accident and emergency department (Notaufnahme), where you go if you need urgent and immediate medical attention at any time. For up-to-date news related to hospitals in Germany, visit our website covering expatriate health:  

Here is a search engine  in order to find hospitals in Germany.

Further reading

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