If you are sick, first you should visit a general practitioner (Hausarzt) in your area. He or she will help you and refer you, if necessary, to a specialist doctor (Facharzt).
The costs for medical treatment, a stay in hospital or medicines are paid for by your health insurance fund as a rule, except for the co-payment that you have to make. It is therefore important to belong to a statutory or private health insurance fund.
Most people in Germany are insured with a statutory health insurance fund. This is compulsory up to a specific level of income. If you earn more, you can choose whether you would like to remain in the statutory health insurance fund or pay into a private health insurance fund.
You can collect medicines that have been prescribed for you from a pharmacy (Apotheke). There, you must only pay a small proportion of the cost yourself (a maximum of EUR 10), as your health insurance fund will pay the rest. Medicines for children and juveniles under 18 are free of charge if they are prescribed by a doctor. If you are insured with a private health insurance fund you, must initially pay for visits to the doctor and for medicines yourself. Then you can send the invoice to your health insurance fund, which will reimburse the costs.
In the event of accidents, emergencies or if you fall ill outside consulting hours, you can call the emergency doctor service or, in cases of extreme emergency, you can contact the emergency service (Ambulance) directly.
The telephone number of the emergency service, which is valid throughout Germany, is 112. There are two specialised hospitals in Moers. Krankenhaus Bethanien and St. Josef Krankenhaus.
Pharmacies have a night and emergency service. You will find up-to-date information on this in your local newspaper.
Help in your language
If you only speak a little German and would therefore like to visit a doctor who speaks your language, the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in the Federal Land in which you live can help. You can find the addresses and telephone numbers of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians on this website: www.kbv.de.
Vaccinations for children
As infectious diseases are particularly dangerous for babies and children, the first vaccinations should be given when babies are just three months old. By the time they are 14 months old, your children should be immunised against the most dangerous illnesses.
In Germany specific inoculations for babies, children, young people and adults are recommended. These are summarised in an inoculation calendar. The inoculation calendar (Impfkalender) is available on the website of the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für Gesundheitliche Aufklärung) in German and several foreign languages.
Early detection check-ups for children
In Germany there are standard early detection check-ups for children from birth to when they begin school, known as the U1 to U9 check-ups. These regular check-ups help to diagnose and treat developmental disorders and diseases in children from an early age. The costs for early recognition check-ups are met by the health insurance funds. The early detection check-ups should take place at specific points during your child’s development. Participating in the scheme is voluntary but it is important to have regular check-ups to support your child’s development. Arrange a specific appointment with your paediatrician.
Information available locally
You can obtain further information about local services in your area from:
- the migration advisory service for adult immigrants and the youth advisory service
- family doctors,
- health insurance schemes,
- the local health authority.