Medical and Living in Germany

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rich126
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Medical and Living in Germany

Post by rich126 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:03 pm

I'm not sure if this is the proper forum, or if one exists here for this, if not, feel free to delete/move this. Thanks.

While I've done a decent amount of traveling out of the USA compared to the average person, I realize traveling does not equal living out of the country. I may have a job offer in the near future to move to Germany (Stuttgart, if it matters) and work for a US based company.

For those that have done a similar thing, did any of you have medical events that were serious while living & working in Germany ? If so how did your company handle any situations that would require you to move back to the states? I'm not questioning the quality of care but more so how things were dealt with in the event of a serious medical event (heart attack, cancer, etc.).

I'm getting close to retirement (about 4 years) and this is an interesting possibility. Besides the fact I've enjoyed my trips to Europe and especially to Germany, getting some financial perks (housing) would allow me to save more for retirement. My biggest concerns besides the medical thing are whether I'd get homesick and language issues. Usually there is someone that speaks some English but that is far from a guarantee and if you need medical help that would be a complicating factor.

Thanks.

alter
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by alter » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:14 pm

I think if you get a job there, they will contribute to the national Krankenkasse health plan (or in some circumstances a private plan). So you should be fully covered. I can't imagine a situation where you would have a medical issue that could not be treated there but could here. Have any specific examples?

I doubt the language barrier would be a huge issue. Some of the nursing staff might have issues with English but I doubt any German doctor would.

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galeno
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by galeno » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:22 pm

Watching and learning. Germany supposedly has one of the best health care systems in the world. If you are a legal resident or citizen you should be able to participate.
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dcabler
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by dcabler » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:06 pm

rich126 wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:03 pm
I'm not sure if this is the proper forum, or if one exists here for this, if not, feel free to delete/move this. Thanks.

While I've done a decent amount of traveling out of the USA compared to the average person, I realize traveling does not equal living out of the country. I may have a job offer in the near future to move to Germany (Stuttgart, if it matters) and work for a US based company.

For those that have done a similar thing, did any of you have medical events that were serious while living & working in Germany ? If so how did your company handle any situations that would require you to move back to the states? I'm not questioning the quality of care but more so how things were dealt with in the event of a serious medical event (heart attack, cancer, etc.).

I'm getting close to retirement (about 4 years) and this is an interesting possibility. Besides the fact I've enjoyed my trips to Europe and especially to Germany, getting some financial perks (housing) would allow me to save more for retirement. My biggest concerns besides the medical thing are whether I'd get homesick and language issues. Usually there is someone that speaks some English but that is far from a guarantee and if you need medical help that would be a complicating factor.

Thanks.
I lived in Germany for 2 years from 1998-2000. But I was an expat and still on my US Health Plan. That said, I paid for everything out of pocket to be reimbursed so I was exposed to the cost if not on a German health plan. You won't have any language issues - they start learning English in Kindergarten.
Health: My wife sprained her wrist. We had a Krankenhaus (Hospital) near our flat. We were novel because we were Americans, so my wife got the head of radiology. Cost of X-ray, consult and "magic white cream": $5.00 They seem to give out the magic white cream for everything. :D

Dental: Not like the US and quite the experience
- They generally don't do teeth cleaning. Explains why so many of my German coworkers had bridgework.
- Dental office looked like a US one, but for some odd reason, no arms on the dental chair.
- I had to get a filling re-done. As a matter of course, they don't use Novacaine unless you ask. I asked. So Dentist gave me the shot. In the US, they give you the shot then go off and pretend to do something until it takes effect. Instead, the Dentist and his two lovely assistants just stood over me, staring, asking me about every 30 seconds if it had taken effect yet. I think they don't have a lot of experience with the stuff. Anyway, he drilled out the old filling and replaced it with a new ceramic one. Later I figured out that he created a ceramic bridge between the affected tooth and the adjacent tooth. 4 days later it fell out. Fortunately, I had a trip back to the US scheduled at about that time and got my regular dentist to fix it. Disappointing. Total cost was about $50

Anyway, this was all in Dresden and only a little more than a decade after the wall went down. Where did the time go, but it's now been 19 years since we got back. Certainly much may have changed in the meantime...

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:18 pm

rich126 wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:03 pm
For those that have done a similar thing, did any of you have medical events that were serious while living & working in Germany ? If so how did your company handle any situations that would require you to move back to the states? I'm not questioning the quality of care but more so how things were dealt with in the event of a serious medical event (heart attack, cancer, etc.).
You'd presumably be insured in the German system and entitled to care under that plan. Since (if) you wouldn't have a US insurance plan, I wouldn't plan on getting moved back to the US for care, especially not if it was something complicated and expensive. I also don't see why it would be necessary - the German medical system would be able to treat you as well as the US system.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:25 pm

dcabler wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:06 pm
- They generally don't do teeth cleaning. Explains why so many of my German coworkers had bridgework.
Next time ask the dentist for "Zahnstein" removal.
- Dental office looked like a US one, but for some odd reason, no arms on the dental chair.
The chairs at my last two dentists in the US didn't have arm rests either. Imports from Dresden, perhaps ;)

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by carol-brennan » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:33 pm

rich126 wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:03 pm
For those that have done a similar thing, did any of you have medical events that were serious while living & working in Germany ?
Sure, I've lived a long time in Germany and had lots of medical issues, one of which had me in the hospital. Medical care is fine there (better than the U.S. in many ways).

Learn German. You probably won't want to come back. I didn't.

Among other benefits, you don't have to worry about getting shot there while going to the movies, school, work, etc. Hard to believe that's a concern in the U.S., but it is.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by dcabler » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:39 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:25 pm
dcabler wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:06 pm
- They generally don't do teeth cleaning. Explains why so many of my German coworkers had bridgework.
Next time ask the dentist for "Zahnstein" removal.
- Dental office looked like a US one, but for some odd reason, no arms on the dental chair.
The chairs at my last two dentists in the US didn't have arm rests either. Imports from Dresden, perhaps ;)
We didn't even ask (even though we knew the word). Another expat had previously asked the question and basically got a tooth wipedown instead of what we'd normally expect in a cleaning. Hah! Perhaps Dresden is exporting their chairs! My German colleagues said they never wanted novacaine because the insurance didn't cover it (they were cheap that way). I asked them what they held onto during the painful drilling. They responded that they put their hands under their thighs and gripped tightly. Dustin Hoffman: "Is it safe?" :shock:

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Watty
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by Watty » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:52 pm

One other thing is to look into how care in the US will be handled if you have to come back for on short notice for a family emergency or a routine visit.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by harmony » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:03 pm

When I worked in Germany in the early seventies, I was admitted to a hospital for “tests” to follow up on a concern from a job-related physical. Despite feeling fine, I was told to get in bed. A specialist showed up after 5 days and said “Nothing is wrong. Go home.” Residents at the university hospital were worried. They told me when I get back to the states, I should seek follow-up. I did seek follow-up after I returned to the states and got insured. Nothing wrong then either. Same issue has not come up in 40+ years.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by FireProof » Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:37 am

carol-brennan wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:33 pm
rich126 wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:03 pm
For those that have done a similar thing, did any of you have medical events that were serious while living & working in Germany ?
Sure, I've lived a long time in Germany and had lots of medical issues, one of which had me in the hospital. Medical care is fine there (better than the U.S. in many ways).

Learn German. You probably won't want to come back. I didn't.

Among other benefits, you don't have to worry about getting shot there while going to the movies, school, work, etc. Hard to believe that's a concern in the U.S., but it is.
I left the US years ago and became a German citizen, and, sure, German health care is better. I remember my sister was visiting, and she had (embarrassingly) fecal worms. She was worried because it turned out that the health insurance she had only covered inpatient care, so she'd have to foot the whole bill. But she went to the doctor, got her checkup, diagnosis, and prescription and was shocked to see that her final bill was... about 20 Euros.

But let's not be sensationalist. Murder rates have been plummeting in the US for decades. A middle-aged middle-class person has no worry about being shot in the US by anyone besides himself. The vast majority of murders take place in a few blocks in the inner city, and the vast majority of victims are poor young men. Crazy or terrorist mass shootings get a lot of attention, but are de minimis in terms of impact (and we've had terrorism in Europe as well).

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by alter » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:40 am

Those are interesting gun stats. I wonder what they would look like if you expanded it out to the last 120 years and included things like odds of being killed by genocide and odds of being killed by European-caused world wars...

Maybe average Americans killed by germans with guns over the last 120 years is more useful than your chart, or better yet, number of people killed by year on average over last 120 years by European countries whose leaders had banned civilian gun ownership? I would love to see those figures...
Last edited by alter on Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by martiansteeler » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:29 am

While learning German will make your time there more fun, in the cities most folks will speak English. They may say they only speak a little, but I’ve enver had an issue before I spoke German. Stuttgart and Heidelberg areas are fine, there were big US Army bases there, and the US kids integrated well with he host German kids, and now that those kids are all adults, it helps.

Healthcare is no issue. Especially in Stuttgart and Heidelberg areas.

Enjoy your time. Travel as much as your u can, and not just to the big cities but to the tiny towns. If you can’t find someone there that speaks English, just point at what you want and smile.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:38 pm

[ quoted post removed by admin LadyGeek]


None of that is relevant and helpful for the OP’s question. Maybe we could be kind and helpful and not get the OP’s thread locked because folks drift into verboten territory?

(and yes, I picked your post, but could also have quoted a number of other ones)

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by TN_Boy » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:21 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:38 pm
[ quoted post removed by admin LadyGeek]


None of that is relevant and helpful for the OP’s question. Maybe we could be kind and helpful and not get the OP’s thread locked because folks drift into verboten territory?

(and yes, I picked your post, but could also have quoted a number of other ones)
+1. Several posts have been rather off-topic. I doubt the OP can get much useful information here. To evaluate medical care in Germany I'd want to know things like:

1) I have a small problem (sore throat won't go away, etc). How hard to see doctor, cost, etc.
2) I have a medium sized problem. Maybe an orthopedic injury that needs surgery. How hard to get physical therapy, or an MRI, or the surgery. Outcomes compared to US doctors. Plus cost.
3) I have a really big problem. A cancer diagnosis, or a heart attack. What are the survival stats here, and cost.

So you would need to have lived in Germany and the US and needed 1 - 3 to have much of an opinion.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:58 pm

I removed several off-topic posts relating to gun violence.

Please stay on-topic, which is the medical care in Germany.
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Topic Author
rich126
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by rich126 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:05 pm

Right now the job is on hold pending a contract being awarded (or maybe renewed). Apparently the company uses Cigna International. I'll have to do some googling on that to see what I can find out about it.

I've read some stories about German dentistry and apparently they are extremely well trained so I'm not sure what happened to some folks here.

I'm guessing even if I get an offer I will probably pass on it, if I also get an offer to go back to Arizona where I've lived previously and have friends. I'm intrigued by Germany and have mostly heard great things about working/living there. I'm mostly concerned about the unknown, if I get some medical issue I would feel much more comfortable being back in the states than in a foreign country. And now that I'm in my 50s the possibilities are higher.

I'll also ask the company more questions such as housing allowance, whether a portion of my income is not taxed, etc. The assignment would require a 3 year commitment (otherwise I assume you'd have to pay back the relocation money) and I'm only looking to work about 4 years before retirement.

Now I want to hop on a plane and take a 10 day vacation over there :)

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:09 pm

rich126 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:05 pm

I'm guessing even if I get an offer I will probably pass on it, if I also get an offer to go back to Arizona where I've lived previously and have friends. I'm intrigued by Germany and have mostly heard great things about working/living there. I'm mostly concerned about the unknown, if I get some medical issue I would feel much more comfortable being back in the states than in a foreign country. And now that I'm in my 50s the possibilities are higher.
What does your current primary care doctor think about your general state of health? 50 is the new 40 (at least that’s what I tell myself selfishly), so I personally wouldn’t be too concerned.
Now I want to hop on a plane and take a 10 day vacation over there :)
If you have never been there, that might actually not be a bad idea. And try not just to do touristy things - try to get a feel for what it’s like to live there. Rent an AirBnB with a kitchen, go to a neighborhood grocery store, butcher, bakery and farmers market. In the evening have a beer at the neighborhood watering hole.

I have friends who are currently on their second 3-year expat assignment in Germany and they love it.

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rich126
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by rich126 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:55 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:09 pm
rich126 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:05 pm

I'm guessing even if I get an offer I will probably pass on it, if I also get an offer to go back to Arizona where I've lived previously and have friends. I'm intrigued by Germany and have mostly heard great things about working/living there. I'm mostly concerned about the unknown, if I get some medical issue I would feel much more comfortable being back in the states than in a foreign country. And now that I'm in my 50s the possibilities are higher.
What does your current primary care doctor think about your general state of health? 50 is the new 40 (at least that’s what I tell myself selfishly), so I personally wouldn’t be too concerned.
Now I want to hop on a plane and take a 10 day vacation over there :)
If you have never been there, that might actually not be a bad idea. And try not just to do touristy things - try to get a feel for what it’s like to live there. Rent an AirBnB with a kitchen, go to a neighborhood grocery store, butcher, bakery and farmers market. In the evening have a beer at the neighborhood watering hole.

I have friends who are currently on their second 3-year expat assignment in Germany and they love it.
I've been to Germany a bunch of times so it isn't something out of left field. And yeah, doing the shopping and other daily activities would be different. Unfortunately languages aren't my thing. Being able to order a beer or saying thank you is one thing, ever understanding a native German would be another.

Health wise I'm fine in most sense. A couple of issues that can't be cured but nothing that curtails exercise or causes me to miss work. Just got to be careful with what I eat. So I don't think any doctor would tell me not to go.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by Pacific » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Your medical care in Germany will likely be better and definitely less expensive than your medical care in the U.S.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by TravelGeek » Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:50 pm

rich126 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:55 pm
I've been to Germany a bunch of times so it isn't something out of left field. And yeah, doing the shopping and other daily activities would be different. Unfortunately languages aren't my thing. Being able to order a beer or saying thank you is one thing, ever understanding a native German would be another.
I'd be more focused on being able to read ... not necessarily Die Zeit (major newspaper), but food packaging, signs in stores and elsewhere, etc. etc. Face-to-face you can usually fall back to English after make an attempt to say a few words in the native language.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by jayk238 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:04 pm

Pacific wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm
Your medical care in Germany will likely be better and definitely less expensive than your medical care in the U.S.
Why will it be better? Is there new advanced health procedures or guidelines coming out of berlin i am missing?

I am curious as to the high quality care there.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by Herekittykitty » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:43 pm

I lived in Germany with my husband (military) in the 1970's so this isn't up to date, but wanted to say we loved it. My husband broke his foot and the Army doctor cleared him to run without X-raying or even examining the foot that well. He then went to a German doctor who actually X-rayed it and gave him an excuse (in English) - which worked.

I got a job in a warehouse there, I was the only American, and I learned German on the go plus studied it. I was later promoted to an office and loved working with my German co-workers there too. I got around by city bus and did just fine. We took the train for trips. Everything was well run and on time. The Germans were almost always friendly (less grouches than I find in most American towns), and patient with my German, and many spoke English. The country was beautiful.

I would have loved to have stayed longer, and would have loved to go back but we never did. I would still love to go back and can afford it, so likely will as soon as I retire if not sooner. I would be alone now as my husband passed on, but I would feel comfortable going.

I hope you get the opportunity and take it. It is an experience of a lifetime. You might love it and ask to extend your time there. I do not have up to date information about the medical system there now, but it was very good back when we were there.

If you go, be sure and tour various parts of Germany, and other European countries also while you are there. We took a tour of Switzerland and it was gorgeous.

For fun, here's a German language resource from Deutsche Welle. It is free.

https://learngerman.dw.com/en/overview

I got that link from the DW (Deutsche Welle) site which is worth a look:

https://learngerman.dw.com/en/overview
I don't know anything.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by uberdoc » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:45 pm

jayk238 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:04 pm
Pacific wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm
Your medical care in Germany will likely be better and definitely less expensive than your medical care in the U.S.
Why will it be better? Is there new advanced health procedures or guidelines coming out of berlin i am missing?

I am curious as to the high quality care there.
Because doctors would be focused on medicine without worrying about litigation or how to document government and insurance mandates useless forms.

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rich126
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by rich126 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 8:40 pm

I’ve been to Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, France, Austria and England. In Germany I’ve gone both in the winter for the Chrismas markets as well as in spring/fall.

If I get offered the job as well as one in AZ it will be a very tough decision. I have friends and a rental house in AZ and enjoy the dry heat and the resort lifestyle (house is in Scottsdale). I lived there for about 10 years and reluctantly moved back east for work. While I am near family which is nice, I am definitely not happy here thus the plan to go elsewhere. My job here is safe and I have 4 years to retirement but I know I’ll be happier in AZ or maybe in Europe.

We’ll see what happens over the next month. Thanks for the comments.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by Herekittykitty » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:54 pm

So if you are offered an opportunity to work in Germany, take the offer. Stay there for 4 years. Retire in Scottsdale, AZ.

:D
I don't know anything.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by CyclingDuo » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:52 am

rich126 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:05 pm
Right now the job is on hold pending a contract being awarded (or maybe renewed). Apparently the company uses Cigna International. I'll have to do some googling on that to see what I can find out about it.

I've read some stories about German dentistry and apparently they are extremely well trained so I'm not sure what happened to some folks here.

I'm guessing even if I get an offer I will probably pass on it, if I also get an offer to go back to Arizona where I've lived previously and have friends. I'm intrigued by Germany and have mostly heard great things about working/living there. I'm mostly concerned about the unknown, if I get some medical issue I would feel much more comfortable being back in the states than in a foreign country. And now that I'm in my 50s the possibilities are higher.

I'll also ask the company more questions such as housing allowance, whether a portion of my income is not taxed, etc. The assignment would require a 3 year commitment (otherwise I assume you'd have to pay back the relocation money) and I'm only looking to work about 4 years before retirement.

Now I want to hop on a plane and take a 10 day vacation over there :)
If you get the offer, take it!!!

I lived and worked outside of Stuttgart in 2015 while age 54 (lived in a town at the end of one the commuter train lines) and spent a lot of time in Stuttgart. Public transportation is excellent. Great bike and hiking trails all through the area! Yes, I was even able to ride my bike through the Winter months.

I highly recommend you take the experience as you will love it!

Lots of things to see and do in that area of Germany. Pretty decent expat population living and working in Stuttgart. Great ballet company in Stuttgart, decent opera and symphony as well. Plenty of museums. Great shopping and food. You only get one journey in life, and I would not pass it up if you get the chance. Worried about getting homesick? It's easy to keep in contact with everyone back home - especially with all the apps that work over WiFi. Surely, you will get a vacation or two and the US is only a plane flight away for a visit. Public transportation to and from the Stuttgart airport, so it's an easy journey. Have passport, will travel. It's pretty easy to fly back and forth over the pond.

I wouldn't worry about the healthcare at all. Stuttgart is one of the largest cities in Germany and has everything you need. We also lived and worked in Austria for many, many years. Our family survived it fine for over a decade (including surgery, dental work, etc....). In fact, their healthcare is an excellent system. Your company health insurance will most likely get you into private practice doctors as well.

https://www.internations.org/go/moving- ... art/living

Healthcare in Stuttgart

Health insurance coverage is compulsory in Germany, with costs in the public healthcare system shared by employer and employee, and deducted automatically from your salary. The premiums can vary between providers, so it is worth shopping around. For most expatriates, the government healthcare plan will be sufficient, especially for those with families, as it covers dependent family members as well.

The US Embassy has a list of English-speaking doctors in Germany, but most General Practitioners (Hausrzt) in Germany speak some English, certainly the younger generation. If further treatment is needed, they will recommend a specialist (Facharzt). Parents of young children should register with a local pediatrician (Kinderarzt).

Emergency medical services in Stuttgart are offered in hospitals around the city (a list of them can be found on the official website of the city), with a dedicated Pediatric ER in the Olga Hospital.

The phone number for medical emergencies in Germany is 112.
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by gd » Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:47 am

Your US employer is the one to ask about all the financial issues. I don't live there but have and go regularly. I'm not aware of any issues in general health care, although I assume they still don't push you out the door as fast as the USA. I did/do/will always get dental work other than emergencies in the USA, given a good dentist here. I may be out of date, but don't care to experiment. Nursing homes are vastly better, if you decide to stay a while.

Consider attending a Goethe-Institute class full time for a few months. Your employer might pay. There is one in Schwaebish Hall. The more you speak, the more you can stay out of the expatriate American insular rut. Have a plan for getting housing. My data is decades old, but I had a big advantage by getting my large company to help find housing, as it gave the landlords assurance of stability. Get your US employer to deal with your German taxes. And if you can, American ones. It gets time-consuming DIY.

Edit: apartments used to be, and may still be, BYO kitchen, including the sink. Germans don't move constantly like Americans, most I know live in the same places, including rentals, for decades. You want your employer to provide local assistance getting settled, unless you are very adventurous. Second edit: that all sounds scarier than intended. You should do it.

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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by rich126 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:37 am

gd wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:47 am
Your US employer is the one to ask about all the financial issues. I don't live there but have and go regularly. I'm not aware of any issues in general health care, although I assume they still don't push you out the door as fast as the USA. I did/do/will always get dental work other than emergencies in the USA, given a good dentist here. I may be out of date, but don't care to experiment. Nursing homes are vastly better, if you decide to stay a while.

Consider attending a Goethe-Institute class full time for a few months. Your employer might pay. There is one in Schwaebish Hall. The more you speak, the more you can stay out of the expatriate American insular rut. Have a plan for getting housing. My data is decades old, but I had a big advantage by getting my large company to help find housing, as it gave the landlords assurance of stability. Get your US employer to deal with your German taxes. And if you can, American ones. It gets time-consuming DIY.

Edit: apartments used to be, and may still be, BYO kitchen, including the sink. Germans don't move constantly like Americans, most I know live in the same places, including rentals, for decades. You want your employer to provide local assistance getting settled, unless you are very adventurous. Second edit: that all sounds scarier than intended. You should do it.
I'm familiar with the BYO kitchen concept in various parts of Europe from watching various tv shows. The part of it I don't understand is what do Germans do with it when they move? I can't imagine all kitchens are the same size, so if you move into a larger/smaller kitchen how does moving the old kitchen help?

Thanks

TravelGeek
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:39 am

rich126 wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:37 am

I'm familiar with the BYO kitchen concept in various parts of Europe from watching various tv shows. The part of it I don't understand is what do Germans do with it when they move? I can't imagine all kitchens are the same size, so if you move into a larger/smaller kitchen how does moving the old kitchen help?

Thanks
Sell it? Not sure, but just for fun I looked at one apartment rental site and most rentals in Stuttgart appeared to have built-in kitchens (called EBK).

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Kitty Telltales
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Location: In the middle of the EU sometimes Florida

Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by Kitty Telltales » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:13 am

Been, here for going on 13 years now. The trend is that landlords are installing kitchens more often. In our first apartment the landlord owned the kitchen, but not the built-in dishwasher and the hallway shoe cupboards, that we had to pay the previous tenant for. We later bought a house and separately negotiated for the purchase their kitchen (500 Euro, appliances included), which had been moved to this house from another apartment. It's basic IKEA stuff. We meant it to be temporary, and have nevertheless been living with it for 8 years. I dread the idea and cost of a new kitchen and I love the view of the mountain from the integrated table, so I'm not motivated enough to change it. Mostly, people do buy the kitchen "furniture" from the previous occupant, otherwise there are Kitchen Studios everywhere, or IKEA.

However, it seems your biggest concern, and was mine too when I arrived, is the health system, My thoughts on that are:

If you ask Germans, "What is most important?" They will unanimously say, "my health", it's priority number one. So I would say all in all, the lifestyle is healthier here then in America. So if you do come for 4 years or so, you might develop healthier habits, if anything else.

There is a "cure" mentality here. People go off for cure vacations, sometimes paid for by their health insurance even. My neighbor's child had some breathing problems and mother and child were sent to a cure hospital/hotel at the Baltic Sea for a few weeks to breath the healthy salt air. When you catch a cold, you stay home without guilt and drink a special herbal tea for colds and cough, and you don't take over the counter drugs and avoid prescription drugs as much as possible.

Health insurance policies often cover fitness classes. Public holidays are often "hiking days" and people go for 3 hour walks. Cakes are abundant, but not as sweet as in America. Chips are seen as fatty death food. Sunday is a day for long breakfasts, chilling out and the shops are closed to ensure you do just that. There is a an unwritten rule that on Sunday you can't mow lawns or make loud machine noises that might disturb your neighbor's peace. (they will politely remind you of this if you dare to disturb). At the end of the hard working day they say, "Gute Feierabend", which means basically, celebrate your free evening. There isn't really a translation in English.

Most doctors make the effort to improve their English. On Wednesday afternoons, their practices are closed, I teach conversation English and an entire practice comes to me, nurses and doctors. Later that day, I have another group including a physical therapist and 3 nurses, and after that a chief doctor from the university hospital who wants to improve his English for international conferences and writing research papers. I think it's a matter of finding the right doctor for you, like finding one with a good bed side manner. The same if you move in the States. Colleagues and the ex-pat community do help you find the right ones.

In our city, if you are really sick, but you don't think sick enough to call an ambulance, there is an emergency doctor on call. All doctors need to either make themselves available for one shift per month, or so, for house calls. The above mentioned doctors have told me funny stories about dealing with refugees through translators found somewhere in their apartment buildings. If needed, you might find a gynecologist or cardiologist standing over you in your bedroom deciding what to do about your high fever. :?

Plus you can get travel insurance when you travel back to the States for vacation. We bought ours through the automobile club ADAC. We've used it twice for my husband when he got the flu and another time when he through out his back in Florida. They paid for doctors and change of travel plans, without any problems.

If you aren't yet convinced that all is fun and fine in Germany, watch the following video from BBC, Make Me a German.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSQKtxJ-Uvk

carol-brennan
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by carol-brennan » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:33 am

If you get a chance to go to Germany, go. Do not think twice. Fair warning: You might think twice about coming back, though, even for "vacations" (which Americans don't really have much of).

Expect culture shock for the first year or so. Push through it. Attitude: Understand and accept; don't criticize. Take German classes wherever you can find them.

gd
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Re: Medical and Living in Germany

Post by gd » Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:27 am

rich126 wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:37 am
I'm familiar with the BYO kitchen concept in various parts of Europe from watching various tv shows. The part of it I don't understand is what do Germans do with it when they move? I can't imagine all kitchens are the same size, so if you move into a larger/smaller kitchen how does moving the old kitchen help?
Departing renters either sell it back to landlord/next tenant, or are required to remove it (or pay). It gets discarded and recycled, not reused. You buy a modern new kitchen when you move every 10/20/never years. Kitchen stores are a standard thing. Germans are fashionable, and using the previous tenant's kitchen is about as appealing as using their furniture. This whole thing is kind of old-school, and pertains more to long-term German renters. Multi-year leases are not unheard of, I've seen a 10-year. I rented places with kitchens installed, but they were small basement apartments quite under normal standards, and a struggle to find. It was usually intended for people commuting away from their real house for work-weeks. If you're looking at a BYOK-style place, you may be expected to re-wallpaper the unit as well, either at the start or end.

With the housing crunch and internet capabilities, there may be more short-term available nowadays, particularly apartments in larger cities. I believe it's an issue in larger cities such as Munich, with discussions of laws to block airBnB-style use of long-term housing stock.

It's all quite interesting, expanding and usually entertaining, but benefits from a guide. Employer assistance is handy. Biggest risk is to get overwhelmed and sink into the expatriate cocoon.

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