Visiting a doctor, medical specialist or hospital
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.
Yes. With the Barmer Teledoktor. Qualified doctors are available daily from 6.00 to 24.00 to provide BARMER members with free medical advice and second opinions via telephone. You can reach the Barmer Teledoktor under the toll-free number 0800 333 560 from within Germany. If you are calling from outside Germany, please call the number +49 202 568 3333 560.
Yes. If you need to see a medical specialist and your waiting time is too long, the Barmer Teledoktor can help you to organize a faster appointment with our exclusive Waiting Time Management service for Barmer members. In some cases, a specialist may not be available in your immediate area, but we will always find the closest possible option for you.
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.
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.
Only sometimes. Statutory co-payments between 5 and 10 euro are required for some healthcare services, for example for hospital treatment per day, prescription medication, medical aids or physical therapies. These co-payments apply to everyone who has public health insurance, except for children. Pregnant women also have co-payment exemptions for some healthcare services and medication, so feel free to contact us for further advice.
Yes. All family members living in the same household can apply for a co-payment exemption. The exemption is possible when your household’s combined annual co-payments exceed 2% of your household’s combined annual gross income (or 1% in the case of chronic illness). Make sure you keep all your co-payment receipts as proof. The co-payment exemption is calculated every calendar year. Your Barmer service advisors are happy to guide you on this topic.
Approved vaccinations against COVID-19 are currently free to all legal residents of Germany, regardless of the person’s insurance status. As of 30 June 2022, German residents are required to pay 3 euro for each rapid antigen test that they receive from approved test centers. However, some people will still be able to receive free tests. Since the regulations regarding COVID-19 can change quickly, please check at the test center or use the English hotline of the German government under the number 0800 0000 837 for more detailed and up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccinations and tests.
In case of emergencies
Yes. In case of emergencies, you can visit a hospital emergency centre directly. However, the paramedics on site will assess your condition and prioritize your treatment. If there is no immediate danger or concern to your health, simply use the Barmer Doctor Finder to locate a doctor near you – or call the telephone number 116117 on the weekend or at night.
You will always be treated in an emergency. It’s important to always carry the e-health card with you, but you will receive emergency treatment in Germany – even if your e-health card is not on you at the time. When you feel better, the medical staff will ask you for your e-health card so Barmer can pay for your emergency treatment.
Yes. In Germany, paramedic assistance, ambulance and emergency transport are generally covered by public health insurance – and are subject to a statutory co-payment of maximum 10 euro. In exceptional rescue situations, for example helicopter extraction from inaccessible mountain areas, public health insurance will not cover the costs.