Health - For migrants with a visa
What to do if you are illIn the event of minor illnesses, such as colds or headaches, you can buy medication in a pharmacy. But many medicines are available on prescription only. The prescription must be written by a doctor. Then you can use the prescription to collect your medication from the pharmacy, and you only have to pay a contribution towards the cost.
Pharmacies are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 6.30 or 6pm, on Saturdays they close at 1pm. In cities however, some pharmacies are open until 8pm. And there is an emergency service for Saturday/Sunday and during the night.
Seeing the doctorDo you feel very ill? The best thing is to make an appointment with the GP. Is your child unwell? Then go to the paediatrician. You can normally only go to the doctor from Monday to Friday. But there is an out-of-hours doctor service for Saturday/Sunday and during the night.
If you have a doctor’s appointment you need a card from your health insurance company, the health card. The first time you visit the doctor, you need to fill in a questionnaire with your personal details and information about your illnesses. Once you have registered you wait in the waiting room. They will call your name. Often it only takes a few minutes, but it can be an hour or more.
In the consulting room the doctor asks you some preliminary questions. At this point you should describe your symptoms precisely. What hurts? How long has it been hurting? Have you ever had this pain before? After questioning you, the doctor will examine you. After that he will make a diagnosis. He will tell you what illness you have.
Sick note and specialistsOnce he has examined you, the doctor may write you a sick note. He will often give you a prescription for medication too. Perhaps you will also be given an appointment for your next examination. Or the GP will refer you to a specialist, for instance an ENT doctor, orthopaedic specialist or a gynaecologist. The specialist will then give you a further examination.
Health - For asylum seekers
In the Event of IllnessIn an emergency, refugees who are awaiting a reply in their asylum process can see a doctor. That’s the law. Before you can go to a doctor, you have to apply for a special health insurance voucher with the social welfare office. Please take this voucher with to your doctor’s appointment so that the social welfare office can pay for the medical costs. Sometimes a doctor may prescribe medication. Take the prescription to a pharmacy to receive your medication. The costs are paid by the social welfare office. Pregnant women or mothers with babies are granted special support from the state.
If you have been living in Germany for more than 15 months, you will no longer need a health insurance voucher when you want to see a doctor. The social welfare office will pay in the same way as a health insurance. However, only standard examinations are covered. The social welfare office will not pay for glasses or travel expenses to reach the doctor. Regulations may vary for children.
In Germany, everybody who has health insurance also has a health insurance card. In the federal states of Hamburg and Bremen, every refugee also receives a health insurance card. This card means that you no longer need a health insurance voucher and can go directly to the doctor. However, this does not mean that you have health insurance. The social welfare office will pay for standard examinations only.