Health care in Germany

Health care in Germany

by: Stripes Europe | .
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published: April 07, 2016

During your time in Germany, you’re going to catch a cold, need a teeth cleaning or have to get your eyes checked. With limited health care services on your installation, you may need to seek out services on the economy. You may feel nervous about going to a German provider, but there are many things you can do to ease this process. 

PATIENT LIAISONS

Host-nation patient liaisons act as intermediaries between patients and doctors to help facilitate the best care possible. From the language barrier, to insurance forms, to providing comfort to clients, patient liaisons can help you feel at ease in new surroundings. 

  • The patient liaison program is available through TRICARE and the Army Regional Health Command Europe. This program is open to all ID cardholders, including non-TRICARE members. 
  • When appointments are made with German clinics on file with a local Military Treatment Facility (MTF), a patient liaison is contacted directly. 
  • If you need emergency care, ask the hospital to contact a host-nation patient liaison or call your local MTF or TRICARE Service Center (TSC) to arrange a meeting. 
  • USAFE has at least one Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator and Debt Collection Assistance Officer in every Air Force MTF that can provide additional assistance. 
  • Go online to find your local TRICARE Service Center and patient liaison.
  • To contact a liaison, go to rhce.amedd.army.mil to find a link to your local MTF. 

TREATMENT DIFFERENCES

Communication is key while in the care of German physicians. It’s OK to ask questions! 

  • Many options are available to you, such as Western, Eastern, and homeopathic techniques. Talk with your doctor or patient liaison if you are in pain or are not responding well to these treatments. 
  • German doctors may not always have a chaperone when examining a patient of the opposite sex. If you feel uncomfortable, it is appropriate to ask for an additional person. 
  • Ensure you take clothing that will allow you to remain semi-dressed during exams. 

The German hospital environment is different. 

  • Rooms are usually double occupancy and may not have privacy screens between beds. 
  • Lockers may or may not be provided, so do not bring valuables. 
  • Personal effects and toiletries are not provided but can usually be purchased. 
  • Bring your own entertainment; you may have to pay extra to watch TV. 
  • If you want to leave your room, get dressed because most European patients do not stay in their gowns all day. 

BEWARE: Be prepared to pay the entire balance for medical services and procedures, and to file a reimbursement claim with your insurance. Not all providers on the economy offer billing. Ask when you book your appointment, and get an estimate of your out-of-pocket cost if necessary. Additionally, many providers do not accept credit or debit cards; call ahead to find out if you will need to bring euros with you. 

BE PREPARED

  • Remember the emergency number is 112 for ambulance/fire. 
  • Call the 24-hour nurse line at 0800-825-1600 for health care advice. 
  • Anticipate health care emergencies. Learn the location of the nearest off-base clinics (Klinikum) and hospitals (Krankenhaus), as most installation health care facilities do not offer emergency services. 
  • For emergencies, go to the hospital’s emergency department (Notaufnahme). Some hospitals have urgent care clinics (Ambulanz) for non-emergencies. 
  • You may find off-base urgent care clinics that cater to Americans, such as American Medical Center near Ramstein Air Base. 
  • German medical clinics may have phone numbers listed on their answering machines for after-hours urgent care needs. 
  • For urgent medications, go to the nearest pharmacy (Apotheke) and look at the signs for the Apotheken-Notdienst, the pharmacy with emergency hours for that day. 
  • Always carry a list of medications and allergies, as well as your insurance card, ID card and local currency. 
  • While traveling, all TRICARE beneficiaries can call International SOS at 0800-723-4214 (toll-free from Germany) or the international line at +44-20-8762-8133 (someone will call you back). 
  • If you still need assistance, call your commander or first sergeant. 
  • Call the American Red Cross for Emergency Communication Messages. 

DENTAL CARE FOR FAMILY OF ACTIVE DUTY

Facility location, branch of service, deployments and staffing fluctuations affect the availability of on-base dental care to those who are not active duty. When space is not available, dependents must rely on German providers for their dental needs. 

Through a voluntary dental program with TRICARE, military family members stationed in Germany can receive quality, affordable dental care. Low monthly premiums provide coverage for treatment from civilian providers at German facilities for most dental procedures. 

To locate a preferred provider, visit MetLife online. German dentists listed as preferred providers must speak English, be licensed in Germany and meet a list of more than 15 other standards of quality. Senior dental officers on installations periodically visit the offices of preferred providers to assess the quality of care and clinic customer service. 

For information about TDP enrollment, claims or covered benefits, visit the TDP website, www.metdental.com.

RESOURCES

milConnect 

Beneficiary Web Enrollment 

TRICARE

Active Duty Dental Program 

TRICARE Dental Program 

TRICARE Retiree Dental Program 

  • 1-888-838-8737 (24 hours automated) 
  • +866-721-8737 (International) 
  • www.trdp.org
Tags: health care in Germany, Tricare, MetLife Dental, military family, OCONUS PCS
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