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FAQs

Frequently asked questions about doctor visits, hospital stays & emergencies

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Visiting a doctor, medical specialist or hospital

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

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. Medical doctors are available 24/7 via telephone to provide free medical advice and second opinions for Barmer members. You can reach the Barmer Teledoktor under the toll-free number 0800 333 500 from within Germany. If you are calling from outside Germany, please call the number +49 202 568 3333 500.

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.

The electronic health insurance card

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.

COVID-19

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.

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.

In case of emergencies

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.

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.

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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