Saturday, March 28, 2009

Health assurance in Germany

German health assurance has been better in former times but it still isn't so bad compared to many other countries. When you are employed permanently you are automatically assured by one of the national assurances. There is a large variety from which you can choose. Since this January the contribution you have to pay is the same for all health assurances, it varies only due to the amount you earn because a certain percentage is deducted from your salary like the contributions for unemployment assurance and taxes.

However, the benefits vary from assurance to assurance. Some offer refunds if you participate in check ups or join health courses, others return money if you haven't gone to the doctor for some time. It really depends on your interests. I am with an assurance which offers a very good service offering you to participate in up to 4 sports or health courses and they also offer a very large variety to choose from. If you have found a course yourself and it is rated qualified they will pay also this one. The courses usually offered are: yoga, pilates, back exercises, muscle relaxation, nutrition seminars and many others.

People with their own business must assure themselves through a private health assurance. There is also a large variety of those. The rates depend on your age, sex and health record.

When you visit the doctor for the first time be sure to bring along 10 Euro. This is the "Praxisgebühr" = charge for medical registration which is due every 3 months. The doctor will write you a "Überweisung"=referral for other doctors. If you don't have this sheet you will have to pay once again if you visit another doctor. My habit is to ask for all the referrals of likely doctors where I might have to go every time I pay the 10 Euro - so I don't have to go back again to ask it explicitly when I need it.

If you private for medical treatment and pay yourself you can negotiate the prices usually. So if you plan to have a treatment in Germany, you can combine it with some sight seeing or shopping. Just contact me for more information if you are interested. I know a really great dentist with a dental technician. They can fix your treatment in a relatively short time since they don't order cheap stuff from China but make everything here. If something doesn't fit, he can fix it without problems.

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