There are three basic categories of German hospitals: privately owned, charity funded and government funded. Unlike the U.K., Germany does not offer free healthcare and patients will need to either pay the costs themselves or via a previously set up insurance scheme in order to receive hospital treatment. This is still applicable even if the patient is taken to the 24-hour A&E department (Notaufnahme), therefore it is important that those with statutory insurance check they are fully covered for treatment costs. If admission to hospital is optional, it is advised that patients check their financial position with their insurance company before making a decision.
Although having insurance covers most hospital services, some of the privately owned clinics will only accommodate patients with private medical insurance, rather than just statuary, or the means to pay for the required care and treatment themselves.
With state hospitals, the initial two weeks are charged at a standard daily rate and private medical insurance will cover all costs.
In order to be admitted to a hospital, patients will usually need to be referred by a medical practitioner and the subsequent care and treatment is then managed by the hospital. Upon entry, except in the case of an emergency, patients are required to show proof of medical insurance, a health insurance card, a referral letter and a valid passport. Patients also need to bring their own nightwear, including a dressing gown and all necessary toiletries. It is encouraged that personal belongings such as photos and gadgets be kept to a minimum in order to save storage space.
Although the costs are expensive, the quality of medical care is usually very high in Germany and most places offer modern, up-to-date technology in order to provide the best possible treatment. Accommodation within the hospital varies with the patient’s insurance scheme. Privately insured individuals are likely to be placed in either a single or double room, whereas state insured patients will probably be placed in a room with multiple beds.