Hospital Stays


Should you need to go to hospital, your doctor will arrange a bed and find a specialist on the staff to consult you. Of course, none of this holds true in the event of an emergency, when you get admitted without previous notice. According to the specific health plan you’re in, you can find yourself in anything from a single to a four-bed room. Most hospitals do not automatically provide gowns, towels or toilet articles for in-patients.

Nursing Care Insurance

Regardless of whether you are a member of the public or private health care insurance plan, you will also be required to pay into the German government’s mandatory long-term nursing care plan (Pflegepflichtversicherung). This nursing care insurance covers a certain portion of the costs of personal nursing needs, such as feeding and bathing, for those people who become substantially disabled. The cost is an additional 2.55 percent of your gross salary (up to a maximum of € 121 per month) in the GKV, and your employer will pay half up to € 55.


Almost any medicine you’ll need can be found at your friendly local pharmacy (they are called Apotheke). In fact, even most non-prescription medicines can be found only at the pharmacy, too. Vitamins and various non-medicinal health aids can be picked up at supermarkets or beauty and health-care shops. If you’re in a health insurance program, the prescription medicines are subsidized – if you are enrolled in the state system, you’ll have to make a co-payment of € 5-10 per medicine, whereby prescription medicines are free for children.

If your local Apotheke doesn’t have the medicine in stock, they will order it, and it will usually be delivered at the latest within the next 24 hours. While the pharmacies tend to close at 6.30 p.m., there are emergency dispenser services – each Apotheke has a display informing you where the next all-night dispensary is. There, you will have to ring a bell to be served; typically, there is a window in the door through which the medicines will be issued.