How Does Germany’s Healthcare System Work?

October, 2021

Germany’s 83 million people can rely on 1,900 hospitals, 409,000 doctors and some 19,000 pharmacies. This system is ultimately administered by a joint committee representing doctors, patients, hospitals and health insurers. It is paid for by a statutory insurance system, which requires every resident in Germany to take out either public or private health insurance, to which they contribute monthly.

Employers subtract half of these insurance contributions from monthly wages, then pass it on to the insurers and pay the other half themselves. In the case of privately insured people, the amount of contributions is based on their individual health record, the age at which they joined the insurer and the type of coverage they want.

People insured by one of the public health insurers pay in 14.6 percent of their salaries (with an upper limit for high incomes) and receive the same health coverage, regardless of how much they contribute. Family members without an income are also insured. The health insurance contributions of the unemployed are usually paid by the national social security agency.