In Germany, your first point of contact for any medical emergencies would be either your hausarzt or a general practitioner (GP). If a specialist needs to be consulted, your GP or hausarzt will refer you.
Even though it’s better to have a hausarzt while you live in Germany, it's not mandatory to have one. However, it is wise to have a personal doctor as it would make your life easy. First thing, it would be easier for you to communicate your problems to a known person than to an unfamiliar one.
How to find a personal doctor in Germany
There are many websites listing doctors or Hausarzt. Simply google “hausarzt near me” or head to listing directories like Jameda or doctolib. You can either search with your zip code or your city.
Additionally, If you are covered by the Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (statutory health insurance), you can also use the doctor search in the KBV website. Select your state and the site will take you to the state specific page and there you can search with your zip code.
Before visiting the doctor, make sure that you clarify whether they accept your insurance as some doctors only accept private insurances while most of the doctors accept all kinds of insurances.
Read our article about different types of insurance in Germany.
Visiting the doctor
You can book an appointment simply by calling the doctor’s number or sometimes over their website. The listing directories like doctolib let you make an appointment through their website itself. You can even walk into a doctor’s clinic and get an appointment if it is an emergency. However, the waiting time might be longer than pre-booking an appointment.
A common fact is, neither the doctor nor the receptionist cannot always be expected to speak in English. However, most of the doctors speak or at least try to speak in English to help you.
If you have an emergency and are not getting a doctor’s appointment, don't hesitate to go to the emergency department in the nearest hospital.
Most of the practices are closed on weekends and on public holidays. Therefore, ask them about their working hours and vacation plans in advance. If you are not sure whether your doctor’s practice is closed when in an emergency, try calling their contact number and usually there will be a recorded voice instructing you what to do next if they are closed.
You always have to bring your insurance card with you during the visit. If you forgot your card, you might get a chance to pay and claim the money from your insurance provider at a later point of time.
On your way to Germany
You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at www.expatova.com.
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