a man with a broken foot and a crutch at reception

How does healthcare work?

Healthcare is a right for all. There are medical practices and hospitals. Some practices treat only private patients, i.e. people with private health insurance. Normally, appointments are assigned, generally by telephone; in an emergency, the emergency departments of the hospitals are responsible. These are open at all times, including at night, at the weekend and on public holidays.

If you are looking for address and contact information for a specific hospital in Berlin, you can look up this information in the directory of Berlin hospitals. A list of doctors in Berlin can be found on the service portal of the city of Berlin. Many doctors work in different languages; ask at your practice.

Medical provision for refugees

Refugees who come to Germany receive a medical examination on arrival. This examination is normally performed within 24 hours of arrival. Its objective is to exclude tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, to offer immunisations, and to identify particular protection needs (pregnancy, disability).

If Berlin is responsible for your asylum process, an application for an electronic health card will be made for you on initial registration. Until the electronic health card is issued (after approx. 5 weeks) you will receive a provisional treatment certificate. With the health card or treatment certificate you can visit a doctor of your choice. The asylum seekers’ benefits act governs which medical services are funded.

Basically, the costs of medical provision for refugees are covered by the state office for refugee matters. However, not all treatments are accepted automatically; an application must be made to the state office for refugee matters for some treatments.

In large accommodation facilities, medical provision to refugees is guaranteed directly on site at the “MedPoints”.

After their experiences of war and fleeing, many refugees suffer from psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression. The following bodies will help you and try to facilitate your access to the required treatment as quickly as possible:

Refugees with disabilities can apply for required aids and treatments. The central point of contact is Berliner Zentrum für Selbstbestimmtes Leben e.V. (Berlin centre for independent living).

If you need an interpreter for your visit to the doctor, these costs can normally also be covered. You must apply for this.

Social workers will help you to find an interpreter or a doctor who is a native speaker.

Who do I call in the event of a medical emergency?

Dial 112 for the ambulance or fire service. You can contact the police on 110.

The telephone numbers are free of charge and available at all times.

Other telephone numbers for emergency contacts can be found on the service portal of the city of Berlin.

What do I do if I have no health insurance?

Insurance is essentially compulsory in Germany. Those in receipt of benefits receive insurance cover that is paid by the employment agency, job centre or social welfare office.
Malteser Migranten Medizin Berlin (Maltese Migrant Medicine Berlin) offers free and anonymous treatment for all. Medibüro also helps in cases of illness and provides anonymous and free treatment regardless of residency status.

In urgent emergencies, the hospitals also have an obligation to provide the necessary treatment. However, in this case, the question of cost must be resolved afterwards with social welfare office.

What do I do in case of death?

In case of death, a doctor must confirm the death of your relative. Undertakers will keep the body and help you with organising the interment and if applicable the funeral. A list of undertakers can be found in the Berlin Finder. In Germany, the use of a cemetery is compulsory; even urns must be interred in an official cemetery. There is a choice of cremation or burial.

The wishes of the deceased must be fulfilled if this does not imply excessive strain for the relatives. The relatives must pay for the interment or the interment is paid for from the inheritance. The option also exists for the required costs (reasonable for social welfare) of interment to be covered for those responsible for the interment if they cannot be expected to meet the cost burden.

Funerals are characterised very individually and by the respective culture. In Berlin there are many faith communities which perform various rituals and some have their own graveyards.