Healthcare in Germany

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Visitors to Germany

Finding help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance, call 112. Calls are free of charge from any phone, including mobile phones. Accident and emergency (A&E) departments in Germany are called Notaufnahmen.

Other useful numbers to note down:

  • 110 – police
  • 112 – fire brigade (Feuerwehr) and ambulance (Rettungswagen)

Most emergency services and doctors speak English, but there is no guarantee. If possible, have a local person assist you with your call.

Healthcare up to 29 March 2019

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).

You should always buy enough travel insurance and make sure you have access to funding to cover any medical treatment abroad. Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund.

Currently, your EHIC enables you to access the necessary state-provided healthcare in Germany at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, if you are staying there temporarily. If you are asked to pay for health services upfront, it is likely that you are not being treated under the state system.

EHIC does not cover certain costs, including:

  • private treatment
  • being brought back to the UK
  • mountain rescue services
  • cruises

It's important that you ensure you're treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you won't be covered for private healthcare.

Be careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. They might reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out, but they are referring to private insurance and not the treatment given under the EHIC.

Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

Provisional replacement certificate (PRC)

A PRC is a certificate demonstrating a person's entitlement to EHIC. If you need healthcare but do not have your EHIC with you, you can call Overseas Healthcare Services and ask them to send a PRC to show to the hospital. This will avoid you being directly charged.

Contact Overseas Healthcare Services:

UK: 0191 218 1999
Outside UK: +44 191 218 1999
(Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, UK time)

People with pre-existing health conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition, you should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Germany. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, to make sure you can get the cover you need. If you have an EHIC, this will be valid until 29 March 2019 but may not work after that date.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Make sure you take with you any documents about your health condition or medication.

If you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment, see our section about seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Dentists

If you need dental treatment during your stay because of illness or an accident, contact a local health centre. Without an EHIC card or in a no-deal situation after 29 March 2019, you are likely to be asked to pay for treatment. You will need adequate health insurance for your visit to Germany.

Hospitals

Except for emergencies, you'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Either provide your EHIC or your German-issued health insurance card at admission. You will have to pay a fixed charge of €10 a day for a maximum of 28 days in a year. Patients up to the age of 18 do not have to pay.

Prescriptions

Medicines and bandages prescribed by your GP can be obtained from any pharmacy in exchange for the prescription. You will have to pay 10% of the cost subject to a minimum charge of €5 and a maximum charge of €10. These costs are not refundable. For minor drugs and medicines, such as painkillers and cough mixtures, you may be charged the full amount (Privatrezept). Children under 18 do not have to pay a fee for prescriptions.

Bringing your own medicines to Germany

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that extra legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal licence to take controlled medicines abroad. Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

You can visit the GOV.UK website for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Healthcare after 29 March 2019

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare when visiting Germany is likely to change. If you are planning to visit Germany on or after 29 March 2019, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if visiting a non-EU country.

The UK government is seeking agreements with countries, including Germany, on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after 29 March.

This guide will be updated with further information on travelling to Germany as the circumstances change.

Working in Germany

If you are living and working in Germany, you’ll have to register with the German authorities (Einwohnermeldeamt). You still have to register with a health insurance fund before you can access healthcare under the statutory health insurance system in Germany.

All employees can choose their own health insurance provider. Your health insurance fund will issue you with a health insurance card, which you have to take with you whenever you visit a doctor, dentist or specialist. The website Krankenkassen Zentrale lets you compare health insurance. However, the information is only available in German.

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Germany, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in Germany.

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for more details:

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3500
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010

Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, see Planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

After 29 March 2019

If you are a UK posted worker, you may need to buy additional healthcare insurance in Germany so you can receive the healthcare treatment you need.

Pensioners in Germany

Healthcare up to 29 March 2019

If you live in Germany and receive an exportable UK State Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK.

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

You may need to liaise with a different team, depending on the exportable benefit. Further information is available under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

S1 certificate (formerly known as E106)

A S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Germany. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until 29 March 2019.

After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states.

You should continue to apply for an S1 certificate until 29 March.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • have worked and paid contributions in the UK
  • receive some UK benefits such as pensions

Apply through the Business Services Authority for an S1 certificate.

For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your certificate via the International Pension Centre in the Department for Work and Pensions on 0191 218 7777.

Further information is available under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

After 29 March 2019

If you have not contributed to German statutory health insurance you must take out private healthcare insurance.

Students in Germany

Until 29 March 2019, if you are going to study or are currently studying in Germany as part of a UK-recognised course, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK government. You and any dependants will need an EHIC. The government always advises UK citizens to take out travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations.

After 29 March 2019, you should continue to buy insurance to cover your healthcare, as you would if you were visiting a non-EU country after 29 March 2019.

Page last reviewed: 28/01/2019
Next review due: 28/01/2022