Medical tourism in Germany: health insurance for foreigners and how to go for treatment



Medical tourism in Germany:  health insurance for foreigners and how to go for treatment

The German healthcare system is extensive and provides support to everyone who needs it. Find out more about whether foreigners need to take out health insurance in Germany, for whom it is mandatory, and how to obtain a medical visa

Order a checklist - step-by-step instructions for obtaining a visa and moving to Germany
Order a checklist - step-by-step instructions for obtaining a visa and moving to Germany

Germany's healthcare system is considered one of the best in the world. Since 2009, health insurance has been mandatory in the country, that is, everyone living in Germany must have an appropriate health insurance policy. This requirement also applies to foreigners, so health insurance is mandatory for all expats in the country.

How does the German healthcare system work? What are the features of health insurance for foreigners in Germany? What should you know about medical tourism in the country? Details in our material.

How to get a residence permit in Germany - step-by-step instructions.

For more information on immigration, work, education, travel and medical treatment in Germany, please follow the link.

Find out how to obtain a work permit in Germany in 2023 for Ukrainians here.

Expat City Ranking 2023: the best and worst cities for expats in the world - find here.

Features of the medicine in Germany 

Germany's public health care system requires residents to have either public health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung-GKV) or private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung-PKV). Unlike most European countries, in Germany the patient does not have to pay for medical services and wait for the insurance company to reimburse you. Compensation from the health insurance fund is received by the provider of medical services, that is, the medical institution. However, the patient will have to pay for certain services.

The healthcare system in Germany is universal, everyone has the right to a doctor, regardless of their employment or social status.

Expats in Germany can take out both public and private insurance.

Paragraph 24 for refugees: eligibility for a residence permit for asylum seekers in Germany - details here.

Read here how to find a job for English-speaking foreigners in Germany.

How is the German health care system financed?

Health care costs are covered by the state insurance system, which is financed by taxes or social contributions. So, although part of your monthly salary goes towards this payment, when you need to visit a doctor or hospital, you will not be charged for the services, apart from the €10 fee for the first visit to the doctor once a quarter and the hospital stay fee.

Temporary protection status in Germany: benefits and legal advice - more details here.

For whom is public health insurance compulsory in Germany?

According to the decree of the German government, the following categories of persons are only subject to mandatory state health insurance:

Workers whose income does not exceed the amount of the minimum annual wage, i.e. those who earn less than €66,600 per year (as of 2023).

Persons receiving unemployment benefits or alimony.

Students, interns and apprentices engaged in professional activities without payment.


Persons with disabilities.

Artists and publicists.

Persons who have no other right to health insurance and were last insured under state health insurance.

Persons receiving an orphan's pension.

Entrepreneurs of agriculture and forestry.

Foreigners who go to Germany on a short-term trip (less than 181 days), for example, on vacation or on a business trip, must take out travel insurance before departure.

Methods of health insurance in Germany for foreigners

In Germany, there are three types of health insurance for foreigners:

State health insurance is mandatory for most residents of Germany, except for those who have grounds for private insurance.

Private health insurance in Germany mostly plays an additional role. However, those who can choose between private and public plans can make a private insurance company their primary provider of health insurance.

A combination of the two – citizens can remain insured under the government scheme and also purchase private insurance to supplement areas not covered by government insurance.

Read more about different types of insurance in Germany at the link.

Do EU citizens need to take out health insurance in Germany?

EU citizens who are temporarily in Germany can receive medical care on the basis of national insurance. For treatment, it is enough to provide the European Health Insurance Card. Those who plan to work and live in Germany long-term need to register with the public health care system or purchase appropriate private health insurance.

What is the average cost of health insurance for foreigners in Germany?

The rate of social contributions to the state health insurance system in Germany is 14.6%, half of which is paid by the employer.

The cost of a private insurance policy depends on certain factors, for example, the components of the policy, the age of the insured, medical history. The cost of a basic coverage plan for a 30-year-old healthy person can be between 200 and 300 euros per month.

Is it possible to live in Germany without health insurance?

Everyone who lives in Germany must have health insurance. Those who are in the country without a policy will have to pay a fine.

When planning a move to Germany, make sure you have adequate health insurance. Order a health insurance policy from verified insurance agents online in just 3 minutes. You can choose a package of services by following the link.

Medical tourism in Germany

The German healthcare system has proven itself to be one of the best in Europe and the world, so every year the country welcomes more and more medical travelers.

Unofficially, Germany is even called the "Hospital of Europe". In the world ranking of health care costs in proportion to GDP, Germany ranks second after Switzerland. The country also took 36th place in the world index of medical tourism.

Why do people choose Germany for treatment?

High standards of health care - treatment is carried out in accordance with international protocols, the clinics use the best European drugs.

Innovative methods of treatment.

State-of-the-art equipment that guarantees patients state-of-the-art treatment.

Highly qualified doctors.

No language barrier – almost all German doctors speak English fluently.

Quick access to treatment – waiting times in German clinics are much shorter than in many other countries.

Reasonable cost of treatment services – a medical tourist can save up to 50% by receiving treatment in Germany instead of the USA.

Availability of numerous rehabilitation centers and health resorts.

Many tourist attractions - treatment can be combined with excursions in Germany.

Germany's hospitals treat an average of 250,000 patients and receive more than 1.2 billion euros from medical tourism every year. Most medical travelers usually come to Germany from Russia, Romania, France, Bulgaria, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Medical visa to Germany

In some cases, foreigners need to obtain a medical visa for treatment in Germany. It depends on the nationality of the patient and the duration of treatment. For example, a visa is required if the duration of your treatment will exceed three months or if you are a citizen of a country that needs a Schengen visa to enter the EU.

The list of documents and the procedure for obtaining a medical visa to Germany for citizens of different countries of the world can be found at the following links: Romania, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc.

Read more about the types of work visas in Germany and how to get one here.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;

Legal advice for business in Germany;

Immigration lawyer services in Germany;

Travel and health insurance for foreigners in Germany;

Insurance for foreign students in Germany.

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