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Guidance: Healthcare for UK nationals living in Germany

Department Of Health

October 14
17:44 2021

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This guidance will be updated if anything changes to how you get state healthcare in Germany.

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This information is about living in Germany. Theres different guidance about visiting Germany.

You must have health insurance cover to live in Germany. You may still have to pay for some services or to use some parts of the healthcare system.

German residents join a health insurer called a Krankenkasse and pay monthly insurance contributions.Around 90% of residents join a statutory health insurer (gesetzliche Krankenkasse).

Around 10% of residents join a private health insurer (private Krankenkasse).

UK nationals usually access the German healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • joining a statutory German health insurer
  • joining a private German health insurer
  • using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for temporary stays when studying, or as a posted (detached) worker
  • registering a UK-issued S1 form with a statutory health insurer (see UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Germany below)

Healthcare if you live and work in Germany

If you are planning on moving to Germany, see the guidance on Living in Germany for more information about visa and residency requirements.

You must show proof of healthcare cover:

  • before you can register as a resident
  • when you apply for a visa

For details about the healthcare cover required for residency applications, contact local authorities in Germany or the appropriate German embassy or consulate in the UK.

You must have health insurance if you live in Germany.

You can add your dependants to your statutory insurance plan for free.

If youre employed with a German employer you can join a health insurance scheme through them.

If youre self-employed or not covered through work you need to register directly with your chosen health insurer.

You may be entitled to a German EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK.

You may also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension (see UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Germany below).

How to register for healthcare

First you need to register as a resident with the German authorities.

If you moved to Germany before 1 January 2021, you need the new residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB).

Once youve registered as a resident, you can join a health insurer. See a list of statutory health insurers (in German).

Your health insurer will send you an ID card. Your German EHIC is on the back (if you join a statutory health insurer).

You can go to any GP practice in Germany. You do not need to register with the practice.

You do not always need to be referred by a GP for further treatment. When you need a referral, youll be given a piece of paper called an berweisungsschein.

If youre registered with a statutory health insurer rather than a private insurer, you need to make sure you go to a doctor or dentist who treats statutory-insured patients. These doctors and dentists are usually identified as:

  • Kassenarzt (statutory health insurance physician)
  • Vertragsarzt (registered contract physician)
  • Alle Kassen (all health insurance funds accepted)

Take your health insurance card with you whenever you visit a doctor, dentist or healthcare provider.

How to access healthcare services

Find your nearest hospital or clinic on the Germany Hospital Directory website (German language website, translates into English).

How much youll pay

Youll pay monthly insurance contributions to your insurance provider. If youre employed and have joined a statutory insurer, your contributions will be taken from your salary before youre paid.

You may still need to pay part of the cost of medical services you use. For example:

  • hospital stays cost 10 euros per day
  • prescription medicines cost up to 10 euros

If your UK employer has sent you to Germany temporarily (posted workers)

A posted worker, also known as a detached worker, is someone who is employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to a European Economic Area (EEA) country.

UK posted workers can access healthcare in Germany using an EHIC, GHIC or S1 form.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 form in Germany

Theres different guidance if you have an S1 as a posted worker (see If your UK employer has sent you to Germany temporarily (posted workers) above).

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if youre a resident in Germany and receive a UK State Pension or an exportable benefit. See Planning your healthcare abroad on the NHS website for more information about eligibility.

You may also be entitled to an S1 form if youre a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if youre eligible.

Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.

Once you have an S1 form, you must register it with a statutory German health insurer.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Germany on the same basis as German citizens who have a statutory health insurer.

Youll also get:

Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Germany than the UK.

Check with the local authorities when you register your S1 form.

If youre entitled to an S1 form as a dependant of a State Pensioner, your health cover will be cancelled once you begin claiming your UK State Pension.

You will be sent a new S1 form to your registered address from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services. You must register this form to ensure continuation of healthcare cover.

You are responsible for informing NHS Overseas Healthcare Services if you change your address or your circumstances change.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm

How to get an S1 form

If you have a UK State Pension or another qualifying exportable benefit, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services (see contact details above).

How to use an S1 form in Germany

You must register your S1 form with your chosen statutory health insurer in Germany.

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