How do you get sick in Germany? Not as easy as it seems. Different countries have their own peculiarities and algorithms of action.
If you work in Germany and are sick, the first thing you should do… is not to go to a doctor, but to call your employer or school and say that you will not show up for school or work today. The notice only counts if you call (at least send an SMS or email) before the workday.
If you do not show up at the workplace without warning, you will receive your first warning. Just two warnings will suffice to give your employer the legal right to fire you. Educational institutions are not as used to it either. There is a quota of hours (different for each university) that you must attend, and then they are converted into points, on the basis of which you will be given a final grade (or not allowed to take the exam).
This way you can laze in bed for 3 days, and for 4 days you should already have a doctor’s certificate (Krankschreibung). However, the employer may also request it on the first day. If you are suspiciously often overweight or posting party photos in your Instagram while you need to be treated, you will be asked for a certificate on the first day. You will hardly be able to get it at the clinic for a chocolate bar.
The good news is that you get your salary on sick leave while you drink tea and lemon in front of your favorite show. This is the law in Germany.
How do I get to know my doctor? As soon as you arrive in the country, you need to find a therapist – Allgemeinarzt – and register with him. When you are ill, you have these options:
– Make an appointment to see a therapist. Call your doctor or google Allgemeinarzt (general practitioner) in your area and make an appointment. But you can see the general practitioner after 3 days or 3 weeks.
– Go to the therapist without an appointment. Before you go to see his working hours and come to his office on a first-come, first-served basis. Remember that in any case you need to go to a general practitioner, and he may already give a referral to a doctor with a narrow specialization.
– If it’s nighttime, you can call 116,117 and call a doctor at home or get a consultation.
If everything is very bad and none of the above options are right for you, you can call an ambulance.
– Phone: 112 (same as the fire department).
How do I pay for the services? There are two types of insurance in Germany: public and private. Usually Germans have state insurance (they do not pay anything in hospitals) and visitors have private insurance (they pay from their own money and then the insurance covers the costs).
The health care system in Germany is very good if you understand how the local bureaucracy works. Germans are happy to see doctors, even with minor questions, because the pills from the pharmacy are not treated after consultation with a friend here.