3.5 Medical Care

In Germany, health insurance is one of the compulsory insurances. It covers many costs for medical examinations and treatments. This means that patients do not have to pay for almost all basic medical services.

Medical consultations

In Germany, you have the right to freely choose the doctors who treat you.

Usually, you choose a general practitioner in your area to go to first when you have medical problems. He or she carries out basic medical examinations and can also prescribe treatments or medicines. If necessary, the general practitioner will issue a referral to a specialist. Sick leaves are also issued by doctors. They are especially important if you are unable to attend an examination or go to work due to your illness.

Furthermore, your health insurance covers preventive check-ups, e.g. at the dentist or gynaecologist. You can get more information on this from your health insurance organisation. Likewise, costs for basic immunisation (vaccinations or booster vaccinations) are covered by the health insurance.


Pharmacies provide both:

  • prescription drugs, which must be prescribed by a doctor, and
  • over-the-counter drugs, e.g. headache pills or cough syrup.

If a medicine has been prescribed by a doctor, a share of the costs is often covered.


What shall I do if I feel sick?

In case of mild symptoms, you should consult a general practitioner.

If you are in an emergency with potentially lethal symptoms, you should call the emergency number 112.

The general patient service can be called via 116117.