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This guidance will be updated if anything changes to how you get state healthcare in Germany.
This information is about living in Germany. There’s different guidance about visiting Germany.
You must have health insurance cover to live in Germany. You may still have to pay for some services or to use some parts of the healthcare system.
German residents join a health insurer called a ‘Krankenkasse’ and pay monthly insurance contributions.
Around 90% of residents join a ‘statutory’ health insurer (gesetzliche Krankenkasse).
Around 10% of residents join a private health insurer (private Krankenkasse).
UK nationals usually access the German healthcare system in one of these ways:
- joining a statutory German health insurer
- joining a private German health insurer
- using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for temporary stays
- registering a UK-issued S1 form with a statutory health insurer
Healthcare if you live and work in Germany
You must have health insurance if you live in Germany.
You can add your dependants to your statutory insurance plan for free.
If you’re employed with a German employer you can join a health insurance scheme through them.
If you’re self-employed or not covered through work you need to register directly with your chosen health insurer.
You may be entitled to a German EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK.
You may also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension.
How to register for healthcare
First you need to register as a resident with the German authorities.
If you moved to Germany before 1 January 2021, you need the new residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB).
Once you’ve registered as a resident, you can join a health insurer. See a list of statutory health insurers (in German).
Your health insurer will send you an ID card. Your German EHIC is on the back (if you join a statutory health insurer).
You can go to any GP practice in Germany. You do not need to register with the practice.
You do not always need to be referred by a GP for further treatment. When you need a referral, you’ll be given a piece of paper called an ‘Überweisungsschein’.
If you’re registered with a statutory health insurer rather than a private insurer, you need to make sure you go to a doctor or dentist who treats statutory-insured patients. These doctors and dentists are usually identified as:
- ‘Kassenarzt’ (statutory health insurance physician)
- ‘Vertragsarzt’ (registered contract physician)
- ‘Alle Kassen’ (all health insurance funds accepted)
Take your health insurance card with you whenever you visit a doctor, dentist or healthcare provider.
How much you’ll pay
You’ll pay monthly insurance contributions to your insurance provider. If you’re employed and have joined a statutory insurer, your contributions will be taken from your salary before you’re paid.
You may still need to pay part of the cost of medical services you use. For example:
- hospital stays cost 10 euros per day
- prescription medicines cost up to 10 euros
If your UK employer has sent you to Germany temporarily (‘posted workers’)
A posted worker, also known as a ‘detached worker’, is someone who is employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to a European Economic Area (EEA) country.
UK posted workers can access healthcare in Germany using an EHIC, GHIC or S1 form.
HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.
UK-funded healthcare: using an S1 form in Germany
There’s different guidance if you have an S1 as a posted worker.
You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you’re a German resident and receive a UK State Pension.
You may also be entitled to an S1 form if you’re a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if you’re eligible.
If you started living in Germany before 1 January 2021, you may also be entitled to an S1 if you receive some other ‘exportable benefits’.
Once you have an S1 form, you must register it with a statutory German health insurer.
This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Germany on the same basis as German citizens who have a statutory health insurer.
You’ll also get:
Dependants and family members may be classified differently in Germany than the UK.
Check with the local authorities when you register your S1 form.
How to get an S1 form
If you have a UK State Pension, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services.
NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm
How to use an S1 form in Germany
You must register your S1 form with your chosen statutory health insurer in Germany. See a list of statutory health insurers (in German). Contact them to find out what documents you need to provide. It usually includes:
- your passport
- proof that you’re registered as a resident in Germany
- proof of income or that you’re a pensioner
Once you’ve registered your S1, you’ll get a health insurance ID card. This shows that you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as a German citizen.
Studying in Germany
You can use an EHIC or GHIC to get medically necessary healthcare until the end of your study period.
If you have a job while studying, you need to join a German health insurer (statutory or private). This includes if you’re doing a paid placement or internship. For students, this costs around 100 euros a month.
Getting treatment in the UK
Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes UK nationals who started living in the EU before 1 January 2021.
Read more about healthcare when you no longer live in the UK.
If you return to live in the UK you’ll be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident.
Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.