Presented by ottonova

Healthcare in Germany: the time-saving tech for expats

Healthcare in Germany: the time-saving tech for expats
Photo: Getty
Think of Germany and most people think of an uber-efficient nation. But expats living in Europe‘s economic powerhouse are sometimes surprised by the variations in healthcare provision.

Now, ottonova private health insurance is capturing the technological zeitgeist with its innovative digital solutions.

Patients wait an average of four days to see a primary care doctor in Germany, according to a 2018 study. Most practices are traditionally closed on Wednesday afternoons and at weekends. With 85 percent of people relying on public health insurance, these factors have led to overcrowded hospital emergency departments.

Germany is reforming its healthcare system to tackle these problems. But the changes, along with a high proportion of people aged over 65, are contributing to rising public healthcare costs. Here are six ways choosing ottonova private health insurance for expats earning €62,550+ a year could save you time – and worry.

Health insurance made easy: find out how ottonova could save you time and worry

1. Concierge support in English

You are feeling a little “kaputt” and know you should see a doctor. But the thought of struggling to get through on the phone followed by 30 minutes in a waiting room – the average wait with public insurance in Germany – is making you delay. Sound familiar? 

Smart, digital technology now dominates our lives. But when it comes to health, even millennials seem stuck on analogue; only 4 percent plan doctor’s appointments online, according to a Forsa Institute study for ottonova. Yet 71 percent say they would use a fully digital health insurance service.

Ottonova offers exactly that, starting with its app and dedicated concierge team. Just pick up your handy (mobile phone), open the app and instantly chat with a named team member for anything about your health and insurance.

Whether you have an urgent need or want a preventive checkup, your concierge can find the right doctor and quickly arrange an appointment. Digitalization speeds things up – but the human touch remains crucial to making customers‘ lives easier.

2. Doctor video consultations – within minutes 

You have a tight schedule you can‘t change – or suddenly feel so poorly that you want to stay in bed. Neither possibility poses a problem with ottonova private health insurance, which offers video consultations with English-speaking doctors. The waiting time is often under a minute from making a request to the concierge and the service is available 365 days a year.

Getting an instant diagnosis and treatment plan via video can help you manage your work, family and social life. Plus, you can get a sick note – which German employers typically require within one to three days – the same day. Now that’s what we call uber-efficient!

Tired of waiting to see a doctor? Find out more about ottonova's time-saving video consultations

Photo: Getty 

3. One app – and no paperwork

As an expat, you’re probably familiar with how frustrating bureaucracy can be. With ottonova, there is no need to worry about misplacing an important document or missing an appointment. You can go paperless by signing up online and using the app, where documents and events appear in a simple overview. Pharmacy and doctor’s visits, prescriptions, concierge chats and incapacity certificates can all be called up whenever needed. 

You can also scan and upload invoices for fast processing. Want to check exactly what your tariff covers? Or send a certificate of contributions to the tax office to support your tax deductions? You’ll find what you need in the app. 

4. English-speaking doctors and staff

Even if you are studying hard to impress with your German, some situations require zero room for misunderstanding. With ottonova private health insurance, you can have all your health-related questions answered in English.

The English-speaking concierge team are available via the app or by phone. Most importantly, they can arrange appointments with English-speaking doctors, either in person or via video call. You can then discuss your symptoms and treatment without feeling you are sitting a German oral exam.

5. Rapid reimbursement 

Consumers have a growing choice of instant ways to pay businesses. But this emphasis on speed is sometimes mysteriously lacking when funds must travel in the opposite direction. Not with ottonova, which can again save you valuable time. Simply upload your invoice via the app and you can expect to receive your money before you even have to pay your bill. Many customers receive the money within hours, while the vast majority of verified invoices are reimbursed within two working days. 

6. Faster access to specialists

Getting an appointment with a specialist often requires a referral (or Überweisung) from a general practitioner. One study found patients with public health insurance waited nearly four times as long as the privately insured – and 17 times as long in the worst instance. It also found the gap was widening.

But when you are insured with ottonova, you can ask the concierge team to arrange an appointment with a nearby specialist without a referral – and you'll often get one within a few days. Your concierge can also help you quickly get a second opinion; for example, prior to undergoing surgery.

As every doctor knows, prevention is better than cure. In the app, you will also find ottonova’s top tips for staying healthy. After all, there is one thing even more precious than your time: your health.

Get a free, non-binding consultation with ottonova to help you take an informed decision about your future healthcare coverage in Germany – find out how to get your personal consultation now

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by ottonova.