The public health insurance system (GKV)
Reimbursement is straightforward for people with public health insurance because their doctor will bill their health insurance provider (Krankenkasse) directly. People with public health insurance do not have to pay when visiting their doctor – but they do have to make small co-payments for certain healthcare services, including:
- €5-10 per prescription
- €10 per day in hospital
- €5-10 per day of nursing care
The public system also tends to cover fewer treatments and services as standard. For example, people with public health insurance often take out additional private insurance policies (Zusatzversicherungen) to cover dental care, vaccinations and homeopathy.
The private health insurance system (PKV)
In the private system, you pay your doctor directly for their services. Don’t panic! If you choose a reliable and efficient Krankenkasse, you can have eligible expenses reimbursed before the bill is due. Just be sure to check with your provider that a treatment is eligible before you go ahead – otherwise, they may not cover the cost.
Private insurance providers usually cover more treatments and services than public providers, sometimes including non-prescription medications, private hospital rooms, and even IVF. Private insurance premiums are also less expensive than in many countries, and your employer will still contribute up to half the cost.
However, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is – it might involve painfully high co-payments or drastic premium increases. Super-cheap premiums are a red flag!
What makes ottonova special?
ottonova is Germany’s first fully digital private health insurance provider. This means you can manage your healthcare at your convenience using the ottonova app. Once we have approved a treatment, you can ask your doctor to proceed. When they issue their bill, simply use the document upload function in the ottonova app – and we’ll start processing it straight away!