Germany\’s Health System and Available Services

Germany’s Health System and Available Services: An Overview

Germany is known worldwide for its high-quality healthcare system. The country has a universal health insurance system that provides all citizens with health coverage. This system is made up of both statutory and private health insurance providers. The German health system is funded by a mix of public and private funding and is administered by the Federal Ministry of Health. Germany has a high standard of living, and its health system is one of the best in the world.

The German Health System

The German health system is based on four principles: solidarity, self-governance, subsidiarity, and competition. Solidarity means that everyone contributes to the system according to their means and receives care according to their needs. Self-governance means that the system is run by various stakeholders, including health insurers, providers, and patients. Subsidiarity means that healthcare decisions are made at the lowest level possible. And competition means that providers and insurers compete to provide the best care at the lowest price.

Statutory Health Insurance

The majority of Germans are enrolled in the statutory health insurance (SHI) system. SHI is compulsory for employees earning under €64,350 per year, self-employed people earning below €64,350 per year, and for people who are not working. SHI contributions are shared between employers and employees.

Private Health Insurance

People who earn above €64,350 per year can choose to take out private health insurance (PHI) instead of SHI. PHI is also available to self-employed people and people who are not working. PHIs offer greater flexibility in terms of care options, but they also have higher premiums.

Healthcare Providers

Primary care providers, such as general practitioners (GPs), serve as the gatekeepers to the healthcare system. Patients must see their GP before being referred to a specialist or hospital. Specialist care is provided by physicians with specialized training. Hospitals are classified according to their specialization levels, with those with the highest specialization being academic teaching hospitals.


Pharmacies can be found throughout Germany, and most are open six days a week. They are well-equipped and staffed by pharmacists who can provide advice on medication.

Available Services

The German health system covers a broad range of services, including preventive care, ambulatory care, hospital care, and rehabilitation. Preventive care includes check-ups, cancer screening, vaccination, and counseling services. Ambulatory care includes general medical care, laboratory tests, outpatient surgery, rehabilitation, and home healthcare. Hospital care includes inpatient medical treatment, surgery, and intensive care. Rehabilitation includes treatment for substance abuse, physical and occupational therapy, and psychological treatment.


Q: How do I find a doctor in Germany?
A: You can use the online platform of the German Medical Association to find a doctor near you.

Q: What do I do if I need medical assistance but don’t speak German?
A: Call the American embassy or consulate, and they will help you find an English-speaking doctor.

Q: Do I need health insurance in Germany?
A: Yes, health insurance is mandatory in Germany.

Q: Can I see a specialist without being referred by a GP?
A: No, except in emergencies.

Q: Are prescription medications expensive in Germany?
A: Prescription medicines are low-cost in Germany.

In conclusion, Germany’s healthcare system is comprehensive, universal, and highly rated. The system is based on a mix of public and private funding and is administered by the Federal Ministry of Health. The German healthcare system offers a range of services, including preventive care, ambulatory care, hospital care, and rehabilitation. Germany’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world and is an example for other countries.

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