There are so many questions that pop up when you move to a new country. Just figuring out the ins and outs of daily life can seem a gargantuan task. And if you’re a woman, there’s often an added layer of stress when it comes to moving—finding a trusted gynecologist and navigating the world of women’s health in a new city and culture.
Today, we’re tackling some common questions about women’s health in Germany. We help you figure out how to find a doctor and break down which services are covered by the Krankenkassen (public health funds).
Do I need a referral to visit the gynecologist?
No. You can always book an appointment directly with your OB-GYN. You will never be required to go to your primary care doctor beforehand.
Looking for an English-speaking doctor? Try a service like Doctolib or the TK-DoctorGuide.
How can I get my annual exam? Is it covered?
An annual women’s health check-up is part of the general service offering of the Krankenkassen. If you’re over 20 years old, then your insurance provider will cover a cervical cancer screening once every 12 months. Once you’re over 30, your exam will also include a breast cancer screening.
Can I get an STI check?
Unfortunately, preventive STI tests aren’t generally covered by the Krankenkassen, but you may have some other options. (Read more about that in this post.) However, a test for chlamydia, the most common STI in Germany, is covered for patients under 25. And if you suspect you may have an STI and your doctor determines a test to be medically necessary, then your Krankenkasse will cover the costs.
What about mammograms?
Mammograms are covered under a few conditions:
- If a lump or other abnormality has been detected during a breast exam;
- As a preventive measure for detecting breast cancer in women between the ages of 50 and 69.
Are hormonal contraceptives covered by public insurance?
For the most part, contraceptives are not covered by the Krankenkassen. As a rule, there are only a couple situations in which they are covered:
- For patients under the age of 22;
- In cases where hormonal contraceptives like the pill are prescribed to ease certain health problems (e.g. acne or severe menstrual cramps);
But otherwise, if you want to get on birth control, it will have to come out of your own pocket.
Yeah, we definitely understand your annoyance. But the good news is that it’s usually not super expensive. Costs will generally be between €6 and €15 per month, depending on the method you choose.
I need a prescription (or a refill). Do I need to book an appointment just for that?
This depends on the doctor. If you’re a first-time patient, you’ll almost certainly need to book an appointment to get a prescription. But for refills, you can usually call your doctor’s office and request that a prescription be written for you.
I want to get an intrauterine device (IUD). Will this be covered?
Similarly to hormonal contraceptives, hormonal and copper IUDs are generally not covered by the Krankenkassen. Out-of-pocket costs are usually between €120-€300 for a copper IUD and 250-400 for a hormonal IUD.
Will the Krankenkassen cover the morning after pill?
Similarly to birth control pills, the morning after pill is only covered for patients under 22. After that, you’ll have to pay out of pocket at a cost of €18-€35, depending on the pill you choose.
Do the Krankenkassen cover the costs of an abortion?
Abortion costs will be covered in two situations:
- If the abortion is determined to be medically necessary (e.g. if the pregnancy will endanger the life of the mother);
- If the pregnancy resulted from a rape.
In all other cases, out-of-pocket costs will come to between €200 and €570. In certain situations (e.g. for very low-income patients), you may be able to apply for the state to cover the costs of the procedure. Read more about it here.