Health insurance rules applicable in the case of short-term or long-term stays in another Member State, including how to apply for a European Health Insurance Card

Information about Rights & Duties of #Illness

Information about Rights & Duties

Health insurance rules applicable in the case of short-term or long-term stays in another Member State, including how to apply for a European Health Insurance Card

Dual system

In Germany, both statutory healthcare insurance and fully private health and nursing care insurance policies are available. Moreover, certain service providers (e.g. doctors and hospitals) only treat private patients.

Most people (over 87%) have statutory insurance, and most service providers treat both patients with statutory insurance and patients with private insurance.

Temporary stays in Germany

In the case of a temporary stay in Germany, you can receive healthcare services using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued in your country of origin. Please apply for an EHIC from the relevant healthcare insurance institute in your country of origin before travelling to Germany. Make sure that it is valid for the entire duration of your stay. If you have forgotten to bring your EHIC, please request a provisional replacement card from your healthcare insurer by fax or email.

Conditions for receiving treatment with an EHIC card

If you wish to receive treatment in Germany using your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), there are three points you must bear in mind:

  1. You may only receive treatment from providers who treat patients with statutory health insurance (contractual providers). You can obtain information about this directly from the institute providing treatment or from the statutory health insurance institutes (see link in the next section).
  2. Contractual providers are entitled to offer you additional services, but you will have to pay for these yourself. Before the doctor can provide such a service and invoice for their fees, you must give your consent in writing.
  3. Before treatment, you must select one of the over 100 statutory health insurance institutes in Germany using a form given to you by the person treating you, which will be in German. This institute will initially bear the cost of the treatment, and will then recover the money from your healthcare insurer at a later date  (see link in next section). You can obtain a multi-lingual form directly from the service provider.

The EHIC can only be used for treatments that are covered by statutory health insurance in Germany and that the person treating you believes are medically necessary, taking into account the duration of your stay. You will find more information in the factsheet Going to Germany with your EHIC. It is available in multiple languages and can be accessed via the links in the next section or by visiting this websiteOpens in new window .

Usual place of residence/change of residence

If you have moved your place of residence/centre of vital interests from another European country to Germany, you are no longer eligible for treatment using the EHIC issued by your former country of residence. In such cases, you will either require insurance cover in Germany (which you will get when you start work, for example) or, if you are a pensioner who is only drawing a pension from their former country of residence, you may be able to obtain cover for the costs of treatment using the form S1 issued by the health insurance institution in your former country of residence.

If you fall into the second category, you should ask your healthcare insurer in your country of origin to issue form S1 before moving to Germany. If this is not possible, you can also contact a statutory healthcare insurance institute in Germany (see link in the next section), which will then request form S1 from the healthcare insurance institute in your country of origin on your behalf.

The S1 form will be converted into a healthcare insurance card by your selected German statutory healthcare insurance institute. This will allow you to obtain all of the benefits in kind available to people insured with this healthcare insurance institute in Germany. However, your own insurer (i.e. your healthcare insurance institute in your country of origin) will remain responsible for any benefits in cash, such as the nursing allowance. These cannot be provided under German law. If you require more information, you can contact the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds [GKV-Spitzenverband] or the German Liaison Office for Health Insurance Abroad (DVKA). You will find a link in the next section.

Responsible for the content
National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds [GKV-Spitzenverband], German Liaison Office for Health Insurance Abroad (DVKA)

National Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare EU-PATIENTEN.DE

Last update or date of publication
10.08.2020