IntroductionThis guide covers all the important things you need to know when considering traveling to Germany for medical treatment. It’s based on the most common questions MEDIGO receives from patients thinking about receiving medical care in Germany. Here’s a short summary of what you’ll find:
- How much does treatment cost in Germany? Less than in the US.
- What city and which hospital should you choose in Germany? Hospitals across Germany have similar quality standards, but different specializations. Choose a hospital that best suits your treatment.
- What is the quality of hospitals in Germany? Very high.
- Are staff in German hospitals qualified? Yes, often with many years’ experience in their medical specialty.
- What practical information should I know before getting treatment in Germany? Consider the language barrier, visa requirements and insurance information, and how to organize your treatment.
How much does medical treatment cost in Germany?Understanding the medical procedure costs is just one piece of the puzzle when seeking treatment abroad. To plan your budget, you also need to think about things like transport, accommodation, insurance coverage, and those pesky (and often unwelcome) additional fees that sometimes occur. Here are all the costs you need to be prepared for when thinking about having a medical procedure performed in Germany:
Medical Procedure CostsThe first thing you need to know is that many hospitals in Germany request the full treatment cost to be paid in full prior to receiving treatment. You can then later get reimbursed by your insurance company (see the Insurance section below for more details). Unlike many other medical tourism destinations, German hospitals rarely advertise their treatment prices. But the German government fixes the prices of procedures in a large catalogue known as G-DRG (German Diagnostic-Related Group) codes, taking into account the costs of treatment, medicine, and materials. Private patients and overseas patients can access healthcare based on G-DRG codes but can pay as much as twice the amount listed due to additional optional private-patient fees known as GOÄ fees. Every patient has the right to be treated without GOÄ fees, and the hospital can charge these fees only if a patient signs a separate contract (in addition to the original treatment contract). Treatment prices can be much closer to the G-DRG-listed price if, for instance, patients do not seek a private room and choose not to be treated by a chief doctor or specialist. As a comparison, Germany’s G-DRG-based treatment costs are considerably lower than treatment costs in the US, similar to prices across Western Europe, and higher than prices in developing nations like India. Patients are provided with a detailed invoice one-to-two weeks after they are discharged from hospital. If the final treatment cost was lower than estimated (as is often the case), the outstanding amount is transferred back to the patient’s bank account. In rare cases (e.g. due to complications or an extended stay), the hospital’s final invoice will require an additional payment in the form of a bank transfer.
Example Treatment: Hip ReplacementA simple hip replacement (based on its G-DRG code) would cost €8,000, but many people who travel to Germany for medical care seek or require a premium treatment package (which may incur GOÄ fees). The procedure may also fall under a more complex hip replacement G-DRG code, and often other services are included in the hospital’s quote. The total cost for a hip replacement in Germany is, on average, between €17,000 and €25,000, but international patients can also request more basic packages to reduce costs.
Popular Medical Procedures in Germany
|Procedure||Type / Note||Price (€)|
|Complicated||12,000 – 34,000|
|Hip Replacement Surgery||8,000 – 25,000|
|Knee Replacement Surgery||Includes 30% high-risk fee||20,000|
|Bone Marrow Transplant||Price is dependant on many variables. See MEDIGO’s Cost Guide for more information||28,000 – 500,000|
Additional Medical CostsAdditional costs are always a possibility when receiving medical treatment, but many patients who travel to Germany often don’t mind the extra expense because they know Germany offers world-class medical care. If you’re worried about costs, the most important thing here is to make sure your clinic or hospital covers as much as possible in the treatment plan it sends to you. A fully detailed treatment plan will also include your expected length of stay, allowing you to budget for things like food, transport, and accommodation. Another important question to think about is whether or not your treatment requires follow-up sessions at the hospital or with a physical therapist. As a medical tourist, this is very important as costs can quickly mount if you have to return to Germany several times for follow-up treatments or if you have to stay for several months of recovery. Finally, keep in mind that you may receive post-treatment medical records and documents from the hospital, and (unless you’ve arranged otherwise) these will likely be in German – so you would need to pay to have them translated to your own language. Here are some examples of extra costs for treatment in Germany:
|Additional Service||Example Cost (€)|
|Fee to be treated by a consultant or Chefarzt||3,000|
|Private room fee||250 per night|
|Accommodation fee for accompanying partner / family member||100 per night|
|Written medical translation||40 per page|
|Oral translation||50 per hour|
|Other elective medical procedures such as consultations or diagnostic imaging||1,500|
|A risk surplus charge (for high-risk cases/treatments)||20-30% of total cost|
Visa & Insurance Costs
Visas The standard fee for a German visa is €60, and most non-EU nationals need a visa to visit Germany (check if you need a visa here). Some discounts are available, so do check if you’re eligible. You should choose a medical visa if you’re having a complex procedure performed; these cost between €35 and €60, depending on where you’re from. Find more information on German visas here.
You also may need to renew your passport. A general rule we stress to patients is that their passports should be valid for at least six months from the date of departure from their home country. Many countries deny entry if passports have less than six months left on them. There’s nothing worse than preparing everything else but not being allowed to board the plane because your passport is only valid for a further 5 months and 29 days (Yes, it does happen).
If you’re seriously thinking about receiving treatment in Germany, one of the first things to do is see how much of the treatment would be covered by your insurance.
Each insurance plan varies, so costs can also vary considerably, depending on a patient’s medical history, the treatment they seek, and a range of other factors.
Many hospitals in Germany do work with international insurance companies. For example, Allianz insurance offers both short-term and long-term international insurance plans (We don’t have a partnership with Allianz – the links are only to show you there are options available). Our advice: Search widely to find the best choice for your situation.
EU citizens should do some research into what’s covered under their health insurance in their home country. The website EU-Patienten.de has extensive information on how to approach health insurance in Germany as an EU citizen – it’s also a useful resource concerning what to do before, during, and after treatment.
A medical complications insurance policy covers any unforeseen events. Make sure to ask about the details about what types of complications are covered. You may also be interested in getting a travel insurance policy that covers the cost of any lost luggage, missed hotel reservations or medical emergencies (not related to a treatment). Be sure to check which parts of this insurance policy apply to you; for example, if you’re not a driver, opt for a travel insurance that doesn’t cover car rental insurance. Removing irrelevant options should reduce your premium.
What city and which hospital should I choose for treatment in Germany?After costs, hospitals and hospital locations are usually next on patients’ minds when looking at treatment options in Germany. But there’s no easy answer to the above question: hospitals should always be selected based on your individual circumstances. One thing to note: A common myth about German hospital locations is that ones in former West Germany are of a higher quality than those in former East Germany. This is not true – medical facilities across the country adhere to the same high standards.
Specialist Clinics in GermanyHospitals should always be chosen based on a patient’s specific medical needs and circumstances. If you need any assistance or advice in choosing a clinic, our Care Team can always be reached through the MEDIGO website. Alternatively, search online yourself for clinics that perform the treatment you are seeking, or visit our clinics in Germany page, which lists more than 20 specialist hospitals. Below are a select few German hospitals that consistently appeal to foreign patients, either because of their ability to treat complex conditions or because of the standard of care they offer. Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Berlin) Charité is Europe's largest university teaching hospital and is internationally renowned both for expert patient care and for its pioneering research. Charité treats complex cases from around the world and employs some leading specialists in a number of medical fields. It has also been awarded the Best Hospital in Germany by Munich-based Focus magazine. HELIOS Hospital Group (hospitals located all over Germany) HELIOS is a prestigious private healthcare group with a network of 112 hospitals across Germany. The Group treats around 4.5 million patients each year and is experienced in treating international patients. In addition to its top-class medical care, it also offers optional luxury services. Most major German cities host a HELIOS hospital, with Centers of Excellence in pediatrics, oncology, orthopedics, and many other complex areas of medicine. Heidelberg University Hospital (Heidelberg) Heidelberg University Hospital is one of the largest and most prestigious hospitals in Europe. It is renowned for cancer treatment and has partnerships with various research institutes (e.g. the German Cancer Research Center). It performs some of the most advanced cancer treatments available today, including proton therapy and heavy ion beam therapy, as well as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, cancer surgery, and bone marrow transplants. The hospital also performs complex orthopedic surgeries, heart surgeries, and organ transplants. ISAR Klinikum (Munich) ISAR Klinikum in Munich combines expertise with luxury care. It offers advanced treatment options and features a pioneering regenerative medicine center that carries out stem-cell research. Patients can receive expert care in most fields, including very complex or rare conditions, and VIP services such as hotel-style rooms and à la carte dining are options.
Are German hospitals good quality, and are the staff qualified?Germany’s healthcare standards are among the best in the world, and the hospitals country-wide are of the highest quality. One thing to note is that all patients are treated equally in Germany, so don’t arrive thinking you’ll be treated like royalty because you’ve paid upfront (sometimes quite a significant amount) for your treatment. That being said, extra support in the form of a personal medical assistant is always an option for patients with complex conditions. Staff in German hospitals are highly qualified and often have considerable experience in their specialization, either through research or practise, or both. German medical staff can seem either very friendly or quite straightforward in their manner, depending on where you’re from. Either way, the doctors and nurses in Germany will maintain a high level of professionalism when interacting with you.
What practical information should I know before getting treatment in Germany?
Language requirementsIt is common for large hospitals in Germany to employ multilingual staff and interpreters to help international patients, largely as a response to receiving patients from Russia and the Middle East. Also, many doctors and clinic staff can comfortably communicate with patients in English. Do check beforehand whether or not this is going to be an issue – your health shouldn’t be put at risk because of a communication problem. (Canopy Speak is a mobile app that allows patients to communicate with doctors in more than 15 languages.) Patients may find some language issues outside the clinic environment, but the good news is that Germans are generally very patient (and well-used to tourists!). Many doctors and dentists from around the world live and practise in Germany, so it’s worthwhile to research online to see if your language is spoken at a specific hospital – a piece of information you can also find on our hospital pages.
Visa & Insurance InformationVisas Getting a medical visa is just like getting a tourist visa. You will have to apply ahead of time to receive your visa in time, and our Care Team can assist patients in getting a visa invitation letter from the hospital. While it normally takes about seven days to obtain a medical visa, in the case of urgent cases, hospitals speed up the process. Insurance EU citizens have the right to receive the same medical treatment in Germany as they do in their home country. Citizens of non-EU countries should contact their insurance provider to determine how much of their treatment in Germany would be covered.
Organizing treatmentYou can always contact German hospitals directly. Hospital websites may have a dedicated section for international patients, sometimes with an option to send an inquiry. However, if your medical records are not in English or German, you may need to arrange a translation before submitting. This can be straightforward if you’re prepared and have all the documents ready. Otherwise, we’re here to help you in choosing a hospital, comparing providers' prices, and planning your trip. MEDIGO is based in Berlin and has lots of experience arranging healthcare at all kinds of hospitals and clinics across Germany. From estimating costs to trip planning, we have the knowledge to make your experience as pain-free as possible.
Here's how it works:
- You contact our Care Team via the inquiry form (or email/phone) and present your case.
- Our Care Team member reviews your case and gets in touch if any important information is missing.Your completed case is forwarded to the relevant clinic(s).
- A specialist directly approves you for treatment (simple cases), or you’re invited for an appointment or for tests (complex cases).
- You’re given a personalized cost estimate, which may include multiple treatment options.
- You schedule your appointment.
- Our Care Team member is available to support you with your trip planning and throughout your trip.