medical coverage for Germans outside Germany?
April 9, 2010 8:33 AM   Subscribe

What medical coverage can Germans residing outside Germany get?

Turns out I have a German citizenship (came as a surprise). I've heard wonders about the German health system, but I live outside Germany. So I'm asking this question in the hopes that Germans (aka me), retain some of those awesome health benefits outside Germany -

What health coverage can Germans get outside of Germany?
posted by ThiefOfSweets to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
None if you don't have insurance.
posted by Brennus at 8:42 AM on April 9, 2010

Well, where do you live? If you're elsewhere in the EU, you can get reciprocal healthcare from whichever country you happen to live in (though access to healthcare may be residence- rather than citizenship-based). As you don't state a location, I'm going to assume you're in the US, in which case I don't imagine your German citizenship will count for much, if anything.
posted by altolinguistic at 8:59 AM on April 9, 2010

Best answer: Nothing, really. Germans traveling to the U.S need to take out travel insurance if they want any coverage. Germany won't pay for any evacuation costs either. Also, you can't just show up in Germany tomorrow and demand health care. You need to sign up for an insurance scheme.

This answer changes if you live in another EU country.

You'd be well-advised to learn a bit more about German Healthcare. This page looks pretty good.
posted by vacapinta at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2010

I think it's this way: if you have German citizenship + live in Germany you are required to have and pay for health insurance (and if you can't afford it the state will pay some of it for you). But there's no citizenship = enjoy benefits. Ultimately you're not paying taxes in Germany, right, so where would the money come from?

I know Germans who have lived abroad that couldn't get German insurance and needed to get and pay for international health insurance.
posted by oxit at 9:19 AM on April 9, 2010

Best answer: I assume you're in the US?
I'm German and about to move to the US - and I'll definitely need to get US insurance, because otherwise I'd have no health insurance at all! German health insurance, as a rule, doesn't cover people living in foreign countries, even if they are citizens. (Things are different when I go to other European countries - when I lived in the UK, for example, I was automatically covered by the NHS because I had German insurance.)

Although there's a thing called Auslandskrankenversicherung ("foreign country health insurance"), this will only work for people who are inside the German health insurance system already, and you'll be unable to get into the system when you live outside of Germany. (Auslandskrankenversicherung also only works for short periods of time, so it's not a long term solution anyway).

If I were you, I'd just call the German consulate where you live and ask them whether there's any chance you could get health care benefits.

[One benefit that you already have: when push comes to shove and you're really really sick, and can't afford/don't get health insurance in the U.S., you can just hop on the next plane to Germany. You will get treatment here even if you're completely penniless, and they won't be able to throw you out of the country because you're a citizen. So that's one "benefit" I could think of. I hope you'll never need it though!]
posted by The Toad at 9:48 AM on April 9, 2010

Oh and I forgot to add, congrats on your newly-discovered citizenship!
posted by The Toad at 9:56 AM on April 9, 2010

Yeah, the biggest benefit is that you can come and live/work anywhere in Europe!

And, when you settle in any EU country, you'll have access to that country's health insurance scheme - not just Germany's.
posted by vacapinta at 10:06 AM on April 9, 2010

Response by poster: thanks
posted by ThiefOfSweets at 12:41 PM on April 9, 2010

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