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What is healthcare like in Germany?
Old 06-08-2009, 05:32 PM   #1
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What is healthcare like in Germany?

What is healthcare like in Germany? : denialism blog
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:52 PM   #2
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I enjoyed the comment section by the German living in the UK.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:30 PM   #3
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Frontline did a special on countries with the best health care systems. Germany was one of them.

FRONTLINE: sick around the world | PBS
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:01 PM   #4
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I enjoyed the comment section by the German living in the UK.
It all depends on the eye of the beholder. 2 months ago my 38 yr old sister in the UK had her annual NHS checkup including pap smear and was diagnosed with early stage cancer. She immediately went into hospital where 4mm were removed from the cervix and a follow-up with more biopsies shows all clear for now and she is now on 6 monthly check ups to monitor progress.

5 years ago she went on the NHS "stop smoking" program which involves seeing a Dr every week. The Dr prescribed nicotine patches and every week measured her blood gases to see if she was cheating. One week the Dr didn't believe her when she said she hadn't had a cigarette all week because her CO levels were elevated. When my sister insisted she was telling the truth the Dr told her to get her gas fired heater checked - she did so and it was found to be defective, so her 5 yr old daughter and husband benefited more than they expected by her decision to quit smoking. (she is an avid non-smoker these days).

I can repeat similar stories of many of my and DW's family members who are all aging and have plenty of need for medical care. The main thing I see is that preventive care is much better, but if you need a knee replacement on the NHS you are likely to be on a long waiting list. When we worked there we had private health insurance through my work for elective surgery.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:23 PM   #5
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It all depends on the eye of the beholder. 2 months ago my 38 yr old sister in the UK had her annual NHS checkup including pap smear and was diagnosed with early stage cancer. She immediately went into hospital where 4mm were removed from the cervix and a follow-up with more biopsies shows all clear for now and she is now on 6 monthly check ups to monitor progress.

5 years ago she went on the NHS "stop smoking" program which involves seeing a Dr every week. The Dr prescribed nicotine patches and every week measured her blood gases to see if she was cheating. One week the Dr didn't believe her when she said she hadn't had a cigarette all week because her CO levels were elevated. When my sister insisted she was telling the truth the Dr told her to get her gas fired heater checked - she did so and it was found to be defective, so her 5 yr old daughter and husband benefited more than they expected by her decision to quit smoking. (she is an avid non-smoker these days).

I can repeat similar stories of many of my and DW's family members who are all aging and have plenty of need for medical care. The main thing I see is that preventive care is much better, but if you need a knee replacement on the NHS you are likely to be on a long waiting list. When we worked there we had private health insurance through my work for elective surgery.
Sure all in the eyes of the beholder. I just enjoyed another viewpoint Oh and of course thank you for sharing yours!
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:52 PM   #6
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Sure all in the eyes of the beholder. I just enjoyed another viewpoint Oh and of course thank you for sharing yours!
Sure thing.

Full disclosure - over the last 22 years living here in the US we have been fortunate to have access to excellent employer subsidized health insurance and both DW and my family have taken full use of it.

We had a glimpse on the other side when our son graduated in early 2007. He moved back and I just could not get any Health insurance for him as his pre-existing condition was brain damage as a baby (cerebral palsy). Fortunately he got a got a decent job in the IT department of a bank within a couple of months and their health insurance accepted him fully. 4 weeks later he took a fall from his bicycle and broke both wrists requiring surgery and pins etc.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:54 PM   #7
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I enjoyed the privilege of working in Germany and paying into the sickness funds. It took much more a percentage of my income than health insurance does here in the States. And it is really no better than what you get in the US for the same costs.

I have excellent group insurance through my employer in the US. A $20 co-pay gets your ACL repaired or 12 screws in your collarbone. I can get an appointment the same day for my kids. I can simply walk-in to my internist. My cardiologist, urologist, and orthopedist require an appointment that I can get the same day if I am in pain or the next day if not. My GI doc needs a couple month's warning for a colonoscopy.

A kidney stone requiring a hospital stay is a $20 co-pay. Child birth is a $20 co-pay. Of course the premiums are outrageous, but they were in Germany as well, but even more so.

But don't go to the emergency room!
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:02 PM   #8
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But don't go to the emergency room!
Because they are over loaded with folks who don't have insurance? (I read the thread on your horrible recent experience)
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:14 PM   #9
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Sure thing.

Full disclosure - over the last 22 years living here in the US we have been fortunate to have access to excellent employer subsidized health insurance and both DW and my family have taken full use of it.

We had a glimpse on the other side when our son graduated in early 2007. He moved back and I just could not get any Health insurance for him as his pre-existing condition was brain damage as a baby (cerebral palsy). Fortunately he got a got a decent job in the IT department of a bank within a couple of months and their health insurance accepted him fully. 4 weeks later he took a fall from his bicycle and broke both wrists requiring surgery and pins etc.
Yeah. Recently in Ohio. My elderly uncle had to have a kidney removed due to cancer. Doing great knock on wood. Im sure some happy medium will come around someday.
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:06 PM   #10
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IMHO this is the key to successful health programs:

Quote:
From the age of 18 to 65 all Germans are required to have insurance
Also important is the rest of this quoted sentence:
Quote:
and employers match funds provided by employees.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:21 AM   #11
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We had a glimpse on the other side when our son graduated in early 2007. He moved back and I just could not get any Health insurance for him as his pre-existing condition was brain damage as a baby (cerebral palsy).
This is the thing the POs me the most about our system

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I enjoyed the privilege of working in Germany and paying into the sickness funds. It took much more a percentage of my income than health insurance does here in the States. And it is really no better than what you get in the US for the same costs.

I have excellent group insurance through my employer in the US.
I do too but my daughter leaving college did not and ran into a pre-existing condition block similar to Alan's son's. It looks like a gov option will be sacrificed to bipartisanship in the current proposals. I hope they have enough sense to require all plans offered in the US to be open to all (no denials for pre-existing conditions) and meet minimum coverage standards. That would stop the cherry picking that balkanizes the current system.

By the way, does the cost of German health care exceed just the out-of-pocket cost of your work insurance or both your costs and your employer's costs? Our employer costs are a big drag on businesses and mask the true cost from taxpayers.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:39 AM   #12
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This is a timely thread. Our annual open benefits enrollment was yesterday and today. The family premiums dropped a ton due to getting a much crappier health insurance plan with much higher deductibles and higher copays. Now it is "only" $8400 a year for the employee premiums for family coverage. Make it an even $10,000 if you want dental and vision. Employer is paying $2,000 on top of that.

Good thing my wife works for a Swiss company that actually provides reasonable choices for health insurance.

This is just the market working things out. Eventually the health insurance pool will consist of Bill and Melinda, plus his buddy Warren. Premiums will be a couple billion $ (per year, not per month - that would be ridiculous). But gosh darn it, those three will have coverage. And in the meantime, everyone that works for the government, is in prison, is under 25, is over 65, is poor, or is laid off will received government subsidized health insurance.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:34 PM   #13
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By the way, does the cost of German health care exceed just the out-of-pocket cost of your work insurance or both your costs and your employer's costs? Our employer costs are a big drag on businesses and mask the true cost from taxpayers.
Not sure if that was directed at me or not, but when I was in the German system, health care was something like 40% of my salary, but I had a rather low salary at the time. Nowadays, healthcare is about 15% of my salary including the employer part. But I don't pay the employer part.

At our company this year, the employee-paid health insurance premium actually dropped. As with many companies, the premiums are based on our claims history. Nobody got very sick in 2008 and there were many fewer new babies as well. 2007 was a banner year for new dads and moms at our company, so maybe 2008 were higher than normal to make up for it.
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:48 AM   #14
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Not sure if that was directed at me or not, but when I was in the German system, health care was something like 40% of my salary, but I had a rather low salary at the time. Nowadays, healthcare is about 15% of my salary including the employer part. But I don't pay the employer part.
When was it?
When my uncle worked in Germany in '97 it was roughly 10% shared half and half between employer and employee.
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Old 06-10-2009, 01:39 PM   #15
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Not sure if that was directed at me or not, but when I was in the German system, health care was something like 40% of my salary, but I had a rather low salary at the time. Nowadays, healthcare is about 15% of my salary including the employer part. But I don't pay the employer part.

At our company this year, the employee-paid health insurance premium actually dropped. As with many companies, the premiums are based on our claims history. Nobody got very sick in 2008 and there were many fewer new babies as well. 2007 was a banner year for new dads and moms at our company, so maybe 2008 were higher than normal to make up for it.
LOL!,
You must mix something up. Healthcare premium in Germany are between 10 and 15% of you salary; split evenly between employee and employer. This percentage was true for the last 40 years.

Unlike here in the US the contribution is a percentage of your income which makes lower income people pay less.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:30 AM   #16
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We've been insured here in Germany for the last 6 months (my wife is studying here). The current contribution rate for 2009 is 15.5% of your salary but is set to drop to 14.9% in July. This is of course split 50/50 with your employer, so you actually only pay around 7.5%.

If you're an apprentice or doing an internship with a company, the rate is 9.8% of your salary.

If you're a full time student, it's a flat tariff of €55 per month.

There is also a quarterly fee of €10 if you visit the doctor each quarter. No fee if you don't.

That's all for public insurance (which I think more than 80% have). You of course can get private insurance as well, but that's the same as in the States where there is underwriting and unless you're young and healthy forget it.

One nice aspect of the public insurance is that if a family has only 1 income, then the entire family (spouse, kids) are all co-insured at no additional cost.

In our case, my wife is a full time university student so is insured at a the rate of €55 per month and since I'm not employed, I (and our daughter) are co-insured at no extra charge. That's a pretty sweet deal.

One thing I don't like is you have to see a GP to be transferred to a specialist. In Estonia, we can make a direct appointment with any doctor we want.

My wife had surgery on a nasty ingrown toenail a couple months back and the care was first rate. We're in a smallish town of ~20K so didn't experience any kind of wait time. Don't know about other places.

While it's mandatory to have health insurance in Germany, there are still people able to fall through the cracks and some people don't have it. No system is perfect.

Edit to add: If you have public health insurance you can pay to upgrade it to get similar perks to those with private insurance such as being seen by the head of the medical department or having work done by the chief surgeon, private rooms, etc.
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