Expenses in the German healthcare system
When it comes to financing the healthcare system, Germany takes a completely different approach than for example the US. Everyone living in Germany contributes to a safety net of affordable care for all. This also keeps out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.
For more details, check out our explainer on the German healthcare system.
Payments under public health insurance
Public health insurance offers the same basic level of healthcare to everyone living in Germany but is bound by the principle of cost-efficiency. When it comes to out-of-pocket expenses, there are some key things to remember.
- People with public health insurance can expect to make co-payments of €10 per quarter for seeing their doctor.
- Prescription medicines are covered by public health insurance, subject to a co-payment of €5 10. Over-the-counter medicines are not covered.
- Dental care often involves high co-payments under public health insurance. Many publicly insured people thus take out supplementary dental insurance (Zahnzusatzversicherung).
Payments under private health insurance
Private health insurance policies usually include a deductible, which the policyholder is usually free to choose. This is the share of your healthcare costs you commit to pay. This system enables private insurers to offer more extensive and higher quality coverage. The legal annual out-of-pocket maximum in Germany is €5,000.
No two private insurance plans are the same, but here are some key points:
- Private insurance policies usually cover a wider range of treatments and services than public insurance.
- Private policies often cover dental and visual care as standard.
- Some insurers – like ottonova – cover the cost of approved over-the-counter medicines.
What makes ottonova special?
ottonova is Germany’s first fully digital private health insurance. We give you control over your healthcare and offer a range of tariffs – including a special expat tariff. This means you can select the right coverage for your needs and choose your deductible. ottonova also reimburses from the first invoice on, which is special as many other PKVs don't do that.