- Rund ums Studium
Everybody can get ill, also while studying abroad. That is why health insurance is obligatory in Germany – so that you will be cared for in case of illness and can focus on recovering, rather than being faced with financial difficulties.
For the enrolment at the latest, you will be asked for a proof that you have health insurance that is valid in Germany for the duration of your stay. Should you require a visa to enter Germany, you will need this proof already when you apply for your visa.
Students from EU-countries as well as from several other countries will not need additional health insurance, since the insurance valid in their home country will also be accepted in Germany. Private health insurance from your home country may be recognised as well. If none of this applies to you, you will have to take out statutory or private health insurance in Germany.
Sometimes you need help immediately. In Germany, there are two very important emergency numbers, which you should memorise. Call:
In case of emergency, these numbers can be called around the clock and are of course free of charge.
For medical emergencies, you can also go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
For less urgent cases of illness, please contact a general practitioner ("Allgemeinarzt") first. They are also called "family doctor" ("Hausarzt"). They will either treat you directly and may give you a prescription for medicine or supporting treatment measures, or they will refer you to a specialist for further examination (e. g. dermatologist, gynaecologist etc.).
Should you need a general practitioner outside the regular consultation hours, i. e. in the evenings, on the weekend, or on holidays, you can call the emergency medical services ("ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst"). The number is: 116 117.
In Germany, prescription drugs and medicine are available almost exclusively in pharmacies. Pharmacies are marked with a big, red "A" for "Apotheke". Should you need medicine outside the regular opening hours, there is a pharmacy emergency service. To find out which pharmacy near you is on emergency duty, check the internet or the notice that you will find at every pharmacy.
Please note that many drugs (e. g. antibiotics) are available only on prescription. Except for a small co-payment, the costs for prescription drugs will be covered by your health insurance. Over the counter medication, such as mild painkillers, can be obtained without a prescription, and at your own expense.