In Germany, you have the “free choice of doctor”, which means that you can decide for yourself which doctor you want to go to. Your first point of contact is usually your family doctor. If necessary, they will refer you to a specialist or to a hospital. You can find out where you can find a doctor you trust, for example here:
On the website of your place of residence
On the website of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in your state
Once you have found a doctor, it is best to call the doctor’s office and make an appointment. The advantage of this is that you don’t have to wait long. In urgent cases, you can also come by directly.
What If There Is No Office Time?
Do you need medical help, but your doctor’s office is not open at the moment? Then you can dial 116 117 for the medical on-call service, which is valid throughout Germany. It is free of charge from landline and mobile networks and is available to all health insurance and private patients. However, if you have an emergency, i.e. a life-threatening situation, you should in any case dial the emergency number 112.
Costs For Visits To The Doctor
As a cash patient, there are almost no costs to you. The doctor will not bill you for the costs, but will settle them directly with your health insurance company.
Vaccinations and Prevention
Of course, it’s best not to get sick in the first place. Vaccinations and medical checkups prevent this. There is no compulsory vaccination in Germany, but some vaccinations are recommended. These are then also paid for by the health insurance companies. You can find out which vaccinations these are, for example, from the Federal Center for Health Education or from your doctor.
The diseases against which you have been vaccinated are documented in the vaccination certificate. There are also numerous preventive examinations, some of which are recommended by law. There are U1-U9 examinations for infants and children. Developmental disorders and diseases can thus be recognized and treated as early as possible. There are also many preventive and early diagnosis examinations for adults, such as skin cancer screening or dental check-ups. The health insurance company often gives a bonus if you have this done regularly.