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Medical care in Germany

Health insurance plays an important role in the German health care system. Health insurance companies (“Krankenkassen”) pay for medical treatment and examinations by doctors and dentists, important vaccinations, medications, remedies and aids (such as prosthetic devices or crutches) that are prescribed by a doctor, medical check-ups, rehabilitation therapy and sick pay.

Anyone who has a job in Germany and earns at least 451 euros a month is usually compulsorily insured by a public health insurance company. 

Persons qualifying for asylum, recognized refugees, persons granted subsidiary protection and people who have been granted a residence permit for Germany on the basis of a national ban on deportation are entitled to payments on the basis of the German Social Code II (“SGB II”). This also includes health insurance.

Asylum seekers, persons obliged to leave Germany and persons subject to a temporary suspension of deportation are not covered by public health insurance in the first months after their arrival in Germany. During this period, they are entitled to certain medical services according to the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act (“Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz”) that will be paid for by the government.

No one living in Germany without a residence permit can obtain insurance from a health insurance company. Under certain circumstances, people without papers receive benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act.

Tip: If you do not know how to get health insurance, it’s probably best to get advice from a migrant organization or refugee relief organization. Addresses can be found here. Take all documents you have with you.