Frequently asked questions

FAQs – Everything you need to know

From finding doctors and specialists to using your e-health card. We answer the most important questions about healthcare in Germany.

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Top 5 FAQ

Yes. Barmer covers you for all medically necessary healthcare services and treatments. This includes healthcare at doctors, specialists, approved therapists, hospitals, basic dental care, prescription medication and more. If you need healthcare, there is always a service or treatment available to you. 

Your personal ID for medical services. The e-health card displays or stores all necessary information about your health insurance and emergency data – so that you can be treated easily and safely. At the doctor’s practice or hospital, the e-health card is scanned and all necessary medical services are billed directly to Barmer.

The electronic health insurance card

We organize it for you. When you join Barmer, we will apply for your Social Security Number (Sozialversicherungsausweis) and send it to your postal address. Join Barmer now!

It’s easy. The Barmer Doctor Finder helps you to find doctors anywhere in Germany. 

Yes. For official up-to-date government information on COVID-19, you can visit the website www.zusammengegencorona.de. The German government has also set up an information hotline in English, Turkish, Russian and Arabic under the telephone number 0800 0000837.

Cover, benefits & BARMER-App

Yes. If you’re insured with Barmer, you’ll receive many additional benefits that are not normally provided under public health insurance. These include access to leading treatments, faster appointments with specialists, free medical advice via telephone as well as modern, digital apps and online services. For more information on how to get the most out of your health insurance, visit our webpage Barmer Benefits, call our English Service Hotline or visit us in person at a Barmer service point. We are always happy to assist you.

Yes, when the prescription is pink or yellow. Barmer covers all medication that doctors prescribe as medically necessary. Prescriptions come in the colours pink, blue, green and sometimes yellow. The colour determines who will pay for the medication and how long the prescription is valid. Pink prescriptions are covered by public health insurance and are mostly valid for 28 days. Yellow prescriptions are covered, too, but are only valid for 7 days. Green and blue prescriptions are not covered. In Germany, statutory co-payments between 5 and 10 euro per package are charged for medication on pink or yellow prescriptions.

Prescriptions and pharmacies in Germany

Yes. Barmer covers the full costs for all officially recommended and mandatory vaccinations in Germany. In addition, Barmer also reimburses 100% of the costs for travel vaccinations that are not normally covered under public health insurance. This way, you’ll have even more money to enjoy for your vacation. As a Barmer member, you can find out what travel vaccinations are recommended by calling our free Barmer Teledoktor on 0800 333 560.

Your personal online service centre. With the Barmer-App and Meine Barmer, you can easily manage your health insurance online – quickly and securely from wherever you are in the world. You can access the Meine Barmer online service centre directly from the Barmer website – or via the Barmer-App from a mobile device. As a registered user of our online service centre, you can:

  • Fill out and download applications and certificates digitally
  • Update personal data
  • Receive reminder services for preventive medical checkups and vaccinations
  • Use your personal online mailbox for secure, digital communication with us
  • Submit sick notes and keep track of sickness benefit payments
  • Stay informed about the processing status of your maternity pay
  • Enjoy attractive online courses and apps for your health
  • Access many other digital services and apps for BARMER members

Would you like to know more? Simply contact us for further support. 

You only need to register once – for either the Barmer App or Meine Barmer. Your username and password can be used for all Barmer online services and digital offers. Currently, the registration process for our online services is only available in German. However, our English step-by-step guide helps you with the registration. If you require further support, our English Service Hotline is available on 0800 333 0060 (from abroad, +49 202 568 333 0060) – our customer service advisors are always happy to assist you.

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Electronic health insurance card & traveling within the EU

Call our English Service Hotline. Our customer service advisors can send you a temporary certificate to show the doctor or even speak directly with the practice to ensure your treatment. If necessary, we’ll also send you a new e-health card.

Yes. You can visit some medical specialists without a referral – but in Germany, your GP, gynecologist, dentist or pediatrician are still the recommended first points of contact to coordinate all your future healthcare needs.

No. As a Barmer member, you don’t need to pay anything when you visit a doctor who is registered within the public health insurance system. Everything that is medically necessary is billed directly to Barmer via your e-health card. If you choose an additional treatment that is not covered under public healthcare, some extra costs may arise, but your doctor will inform you in advance. This way, you can decide what is best for you. An example is dental fillings: A special high-end material may require an additional cost – but the standard quality material is always free. In some cases, however, small co-payments are required for healthcare services.

The electronic health insurance card

Yes. Approved vaccinations against COVID-19 are currently free to all legal residents of Germany, regardless of the person’s insurance status. As a German resident, you are also entitled to one free rapid antigen test per week – and one free PCR test following a positive rapid antigen test result. Free tests are only available from approved test centres. Of course, the regulations regarding COVID-19 can change regularly, so it’s best to ask at your doctor or test centre about costs to be on the safe side.

After you register your permanent address. Your new electronic health insurance card should arrive a few weeks after BARMER receives confiormation of your permanent address. If you don’t have an address, we can give you a temporary certificate to show the doctor, which works just like the e-health card.

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Doctor visits, hospital stays & emergencies

Call the practice. The doctor’s staff will advise you on the best time to visit. Some doctors’ practices in Germany have an open consultation time called a Sprechstunde, where you can visit the doctor without an appointment. However, most doctors work on an appointment only schedule. For your convenience, some doctors also offer appointments via an online booking system.

Yes. You can visit some medical specialists without a referral – but in Germany, your GP, gynecologist, dentist or pediatrician are still the recommended first points of contact to coordinate all your future healthcare needs.

No. As a Barmer member, you don’t need to pay anything when you visit a doctor who is registered within the public health insurance system. Everything that is medically necessary is billed directly to Barmer via your e-health card. If you choose an additional treatment that is not covered under public healthcare, some extra costs may arise, but your doctor will inform you in advance. This way, you can decide what is best for you. An example is dental fillings: A special high-end material may require an additional cost – but the standard quality material is always free. In some cases, however, small co-payments are required for healthcare services.

The electronic health insurance card

In most cases, yes. In Germany, a doctor will refer you for hospital treatment, but you are free to choose which public hospital you are treated in. In an emergency, paramedics will decide if you need to be treated at a hospital or not.

112. If you require first aid in the case of an emergency, you can reach paramedics, an ambulance or the fire brigade on the toll-free number 112 from everywhere in Europe. You can reach emergency police assistance on the number 110.

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FAQ for employees, students, families and self-employed

At Barmer, the contribution rate for employees is currently 16.1%. This is a combination of the standard statutory contribution rate of 14.6% and the additional individual contribution rate of 1.5%. The contributions are shared 50/50 between employer and employee. In other words, you only pay 8.05% of your gross salary for the security and benefits of public health insurance.

No, but we appreciate it when you do. As your partner in health insurance, we like to know when your employment changes so we can coordinate any relevant information with your new employer to make sure you have the perfect start in your new job.

Yes. Students under 30 years of age who study at a state-approved university or college in Germany are subject to mandatory public health insurance and long-term care insurance. In some cases, an exemption is possible, but you’ll need to think carefully about the consequences before making your decision. It’s always best to contact Barmer directly for further advice on this important topic.

Yes. As a student, you can work alongside your studies – but there are various restrictions. The underlying rule is that your main occupation remains that of a student.

Students from the EU/EEA can be employed alongside their studies – as either a “working student” (Werkstudent) or in a so-called “Mini-Job”. Working students can generally work up to 20 hours a week on average. It’s possible to work more than 20 hours a week during weekends and study breaks, but only for a maximum of 26 weeks per year. It doesn’t matter how much money you earn as a working student, as long as the time restrictions are maintained. If your work time exceeds these limits, your main occupation is no longer a student – and you’ll be insured as an employee.

When you start working alongside your studies, you’ll need to take out mandatory student health insurance with a German health insurance provider like Barmer. As soon as you plan to start your job, please contact us so that we can provide you with all the necessary documents.

Non-EU/EEA students can be employed alongside their studies – as either a “working student” (Werkstudent) or in a so-called “Mini-Job” – if the residence permit allows for this. When you apply for a residence permit, speak with the immigration authorities about working alongside your studies so you know exactly what work permits and time restrictions apply to you. 

Yes. Your spouse or registered civil partner and dependent children can be co-insured free of charge under certain preconditions. One precondition is that each co-insured family member does not earn over 470 euro a month. Age limits also apply to your children. You’ll also need to fill out an annual questionnaire to keep the family insurance active and inform us whenever the family’s situation changes. It’s best to contact Barmer directly for further information on family insurance so that we can advise you according to your family situation.

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Ein Telefonhörer

Need more help?

For further information simply call our English Service Hotline on 0800 333 0060* (and +49 202 568 333 0060* from abroad).

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