Hospitalization in Germany

If you are injured in an accident, contract a disease or suffer from a serious illness, you may have to spend some time in hospital as an inpatient.

What to expect from a German hospital

To put your mind at ease, there is no need to worry about the standard of care. Germany is among the biggest spenders on healthcare in the EU and is usually ranked highly in global healthcare statistics.


What hospitals can I go to?

There are three types of hospitals in Germany:

  • public hospitals (öffentliche Krankenhäuser) – run by federal or local authorities;
  • charitable hospitals (frei gemeinnützige Krankenhäuser) – run by churches or the German Red Cross, and
  • private hospitals (Privatkrankenhäuser) – run by private companies.

All types of hospital have an emergency unit (Notaufnahme). If your condition is life-threatening, you will be taken to the nearest available hospital.

If you are referred by your GP, you will need to be referred to a hospital covered by your insurance. ottonova customers can contact us to discuss any preferences they have for their hospitalization via the ottonova Concierge service.


How long will I have to stay in hospital?

First and foremost, that depends on your condition. You will be discharged when you are fit and well enough to care for yourself.

However, German hospitals tend to take a cautious approach, keeping inpatients for longer than hospitals in the UK or US. New mothers, for example, can expect to spend up to 6 days in hospital following a birth with no complications, compared to just 1 or 2 days in the United States.


How much will hospitalization cost me?

As with many aspects of the German healthcare system, this depends on whether you have public or private health insurance.

People with public health insurance do not pay directly for their hospital care, as the costs are covered by their insurance. However, they must make a co-payment of around €10 per day in hospital.

People with private health insurance pay hospital fees upfront before applying to their insurance provider for reimbursement.


5 top tips for staying in a German hospital

  1. Take your own slippers and gown! Most hospitals will not supply them.
  2. Germans tend to be less concerned with privacy than Americans or Brits. Publicly insured people in particular can find themselves sharing rooms with numerous other patients.
  3. Visiting hours are usually quite long, from 2pm to 8pm – though this can vary.
  4. Children are generally discouraged from visiting, especially if they disturb other patients.
  5. Leaving a small token of appreciation for the nurses is customary, particularly after an extended stay in hospital. A card or a basket of fruit always goes down well!

FAQ

Do you help me finding an English-speaking doctor?

Of course! Through our ottonova Concierge Service we can book appointments for you. You just easily write us a message with your requirements, and we will find the best option for you. 

How is the payment working? Different than public insurance?

The payment is different than in the public system. With private health insurance you pay the full tariff to us at the beginning of the month. If you are employed your employer will contribute their part to your health insurance through your salary.  

What does the 5-fold rate mean?

In Germany, doctor fees are regulated by GOÄ (Gebührenordnung für Ärtze) and GOZ (Gebührenordnung für Zahnärtze). This is a price range regulation that indicates the cost of a treatment. A normal treatment will be charged with factor 2,3. Anything higher than that up to 3,5 needs an explanation from the doctor on the invoice, explaining the increased effort. Everything higher than 3,5 the doctor needs you to sign the so called “Honorarvereinbarung” before the treatment. We advise you to always let us know if this happens.

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