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Frequently asked questions about Barmer

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Where can I find a doctor with foreign language skills?

Your first point of contact for medical treatment is your general practitioner (GP). The GP’s practice also offers, for example, preventive check-ups and vaccinations. In the case of special illnesses, the GP issues referrals for a specialist physician or hospital and coordinates further medical treatment. To find a GP or a specialist visit the search tool Barmer Doctor Finder. If you are already insured with Barmer we will help you to find a general practitioner (GP) or a specialist that speaks English or other languages. Call our English Service Hotline for members 0800 333 0060. When you need medical assistance, Barmer will cover the full cost of that treatment for you – without any time limits.

Are hospital treatments covered by Barmer?

Barmer covers the full cost of general hospital services. In Germany, persons insured under the statutory health system are required to make a co-payment of 10 euros per night for hospital stays, but only for a maximum of 28 days per calendar year. You are free to choose from more than 2,000 existing partner hospitals nationwide if your GP or specialist physician has not already issued a specific hospital referral. In general, it is possible to call the hospital to arrange a specific admission appointment with the hospital referral. No special application procedure is necessary. Your referring physician or the hospital will inform you if an alternate application procedure is necessary in exceptional cases. To find a hospital that suits you, simply call our English Service Hotline, or use the Barmer Kliniksuche (german).

How do I get medication?

Your physician will give you a prescription if you require medication. Prescriptions are usually pink in colour, valid for 28 days after the date of issue and required to be filled at the pharmacy. In rare cases, there are also yellow prescriptions, for example, when strong painkillers have been prescribed, and these prescriptions are only valid for seven days after the date of issue. There are also green or blue prescriptions, which are valid for an unlimited period of time (green) or three months (blue), and the amount billed for these medications is not covered by the health insurance provider. In Germany, co-payments are generally required when purchasing medications. This amounts to 10 percent of the cost of the medication – with a minimum of 5 euros, and maximum 10 euros. There are similar medications that cost even more, but your pharmacy will advise you on cheaper alternatives. If you need medication regularly, you can be exempted from co-payments. During pregnancy, as a member of Barmer, we cover the costs for additional medication that you would normally pay yourself. If you are already insured with Barmer you can ask for individual advice or in case of any questions, please call our English Service Hotline on 0800 333 00 60.

Am I insured when travelling abroad?

In the EU and some additional countries, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) helps to ensure necessary treatments in the case of emergency. You will find the EHIC on the back of your electronic health insurance card (eGK). Therefore, always take your electronic health insurance card with you when you travel! In some cases, it is possible to obtain special foreign health insurance certificates that enable medical treatment in countries that are frequented by EU visitors, such as Tunisia and Turkey.

Outside the EU, it is always essential to take out private travel health insurance, as Barmer cannot provide any cover for treatment received in these countries. Additional private travel health insurance is very affordable and strongly recommended within Europe as well. For example, high co-payments are typical for some EU countries (e.g. for inpatient hospital treatment), and medically necessary repatriation within the EU cannot be charged to Barmer via the EHIC. 

Which vaccinations are covered by Barmer?

We cover the full costs for all recommended and mandatory vaccinations. The list of these vaccinations is regulated in the Vaccination Directive (Schutzimpfungsrichtlinie). Your GP will be happy to advise you on which vaccinations are required. It is best to maintain an up-to-date vaccination card. In addition, Barmer covers the costs for many additional vaccines and vaccinations, such as those relating to international travel. As a Barmer member you can find out about vaccinations by calling our Barmer Teledoktor on 0800 3333 500.

Are therapeutic treatments such as massages covered by Barmer?

Physiotherapeutic treatments such as massages count as a non-medical treatment (“Heilmittel”). Other non-medical treatments include occupational therapy, voice, speech and language therapy, podiatry therapy for diabetic foot syndrome and nutritional therapy for rare metabolic diseases. Barmer covers the costs for all non-medical treatments prescribed by a physician. Members over the age of 18 pay a statutory co-payment of 10 percent of the cost of these treatments and an additional 10 euros per prescription. The co-payment obligation also exists if these treatments are provided in the doctor’s practice or during outpatient treatment at hospital.

How do I get psychotherapy?

If you need professional help because of psychological problems, you must first have a psychotherapy consultation. In this, you can get advice on your problems and an assessment of whether psychotherapy might be helpful or necessary for you. The appointment service centres of the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians can make an appointment for you under the telephone number 116 117 (Kassenärztliche Vereinigung).

Possible courses of treatment determined in the psychotherapy consultation:

  • It is found that you need acute treatment. Acute treatment is a possible course of action for acute psychological crises and aims to achieve a quick improvement. Acute treatment takes place with a psychotherapist. However, not every practice that offers psychotherapy consultations can offer patient treatment. In this case, the appointment service centre (tel.: 116 117) can arrange an appointment with another therapist.
  • You and the therapists may together come to the conclusion that psychotherapy is necessary in the near future. Psychotherapy in the near future could alleviate your problems and improve your quality of life. Precisely which method of therapy is an option depends not only on the illness or disorder, but also on your personal goals and preferences. Not every practice offers appointments for this. Here, too, the appointment service centre (tel.: 116 117) can help you. It is important that you tell the appointment service centre that you need an appointment for a “probatory” session.
  • You and the therapists together determine that psychotherapy is necessary, but that it does not need to be started soon. If the practice is unable to treat you, you can use the therapist search service of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.
  • If inpatient treatment is necessary, the therapists in the psychotherapeutic consultation will advise you on the next steps.
  • If psychotherapy is not appropriate, you will be advised of alternative methods that could lead to an improvement in your situation, such as a self-help group or mindfulness training.

Barmer also offers internet and app-based services to support you, such as the online training course HelloBetter Depression Acute, or the video consultation MindDoc. Our online training course HelloBetter Stress-Free can bring more calm into your everyday life. The 7Mind app can also help to improve your well-being through meditation and bring more peace and relaxation into your everyday life.

Are the costs for medical rehabilitation and preventative treatments at convalescent care facilities covered by Barmer?

Barmer covers the costs of medically necessary rehabilitation measures or preventive treatments at convalescent care facilities. In the case rehabilitation measures are required for employed persons, “Deutsche Rentenversicherung” (the German pension insurance fund) is generally the responsible agency, and the application for benefits must be submitted there. In certain cases, other social insurance agencies may also be responsible for bearing the costs. If you are applying for the costs of a rehabilitation treatment to be covered, your first point of contact is your general practitioner. Your GP will advise you on the most suitable course of treatment for you, and if necessary, will also determine which agency is responsible.

Do you suspect medical malpractice?

You can find detailed information on medical malpractice here (in German).

Who should I call in an emergency?

In an emergency, it is critical to reach the appropriate emergency services within the shortest possible time. You can reach paramedics, ambulance or the fire brigade on the free number 112 from everywhere in Europe. If you require standard medical treatment from a GP at a time when the doctor’s practice is closed (e.g. at night, weekends, on public holidays), a medical service is available under the number 116117. This service will connect you to a doctor’s surgery in your area, where resident doctors are on duty to treat patients in urgent cases.

Accident? - Have you received an accident questionnaire? Why this information is important for BARMER.

Whether it’s an accident with the car, at work, on the sidewalk, at home, with friends, in sports, while traveling, or shopping in the supermarket - there are no limits to the list. Barmer needs your support so that we can manage our claims for reimbursement from liability insurances or professional associations (e.g. for medical treatment, hospital treatment, patient transport, etc.). In every case, please send us the completed accident questionnaire as quickly as possible.

Does Barmer offer English support over the telephone?

The Barmer English Service Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will advise you quickly and comprehensively in all areas relating to your health insurance. The English Service Hotline is available on 0800 333 0060*. Find out more about our consultations.

As a new Barmer member, when will I receive my health insurance card?

Muster der BARMER Versichertenkarte mit Versichertennummer

Your new health insurance card should arrive in around 4 business days. If we receive your membership application well before your transition to Barmer, you are certain to have your new health insurance card by the time your coverage commences.

If we receive your application shortly before your coverage commences, we will issue you – or your doctor – with a special document that proves your insurance coverage. This means your insurance is guaranteed, even before your card arrives.

Did you receive a photo upload-code for your health insurance card? Click here to use the online-upload feature.

Why do I need a social security number?

The social security number (Rentenversicherungsnummer or RVNR) is important so that your employer can pay you and we can process your health insurance contributions. BARMER can apply for this number on your behalf, and you‘ll receive it in the post a few days later. Then you can give the number to your new employer. 

* On weekdays from 8:01 PM to 6:59 AM, weekends and national public holidays, our telephone hotline is operated by our partner vitaservices. The company’s team is specially trained in matters surrounding social insurance. We have specifically chosen them to ensure that you receive the best service possible outside of our business hours. The protection of your data is of course ensured.