Those moving to Germany to work, on the other hand, may need to wait until they are employed before they can be enrolled in the public healthcare system, in which case they can rely on cover from a European Health Insurance Card in the meanwhile. Either way, private or public healthcare is mandatory by law in Germany.
You can find out more about how to register for public healthcare insurance on our Public Healthcare in Germany page. You can also find out more about private health insurance on our Private Healthcare in Germany page.
How can I apply for the EHIC?
Applying for a European Health Insurance Card differs from country to country. In some countries, you will automatically get a card when you register with your own public insurance or state healthcare system. Others require you to specifically apply for the card via the national healthcare provider or using a dedicated online portal. It’s important to remember that you need a card for each member of your family, including dependents.
How quickly can I get the EHIC?
The time it takes to process your first EHIC card will depend on your home country. In most cases, it’s a fast and simple process. In some cases, your national health card will already incorporate an EHIC element, so you don’t need to do anything at all. It’s really important to check whether your card is in date. UK-issued cards expire after five years, for example. You can normally renew an EHIC easily and quickly online.
Using an EHIC in Germany
A European Health Insurance Card can be used in Germany to access the same level of medical care that someone with public health care insurance has access to. If you need to visit a doctor or dentist, make sure they are registered in the public healthcare systems. These practitioners are known as Kassenärzte and are not private doctors or dentists. Make sure you take your card along with you. General practitioners appointments (for every newly arising medical issue within a quarterly period) are charged €10 each time. This applies to nationals on the public healthcare scheme and internationals using European Health Cover.
Some people visiting Germany for a short while may find that they are better covered with travel insurance, which can be better for specific instances such as a skiing trip. Most holidaymakers visit the country with both a European Health Insurance Card, which is free, and some level of travel insurance.