Expat healthcare in Germany: why prevention is better than cure

Staying healthy is not just about regular trips to the doctor. Healthcare today is all about prevention and diagnostics – and any modern health provider will include this as the centrepiece of its coverage.

Expat healthcare in Germany: why prevention is better than cure
Photo: Getty
ottonova, Germany’s first digital insurance provider, understands this. With a strong commitment to providing the best care and sustaining customers’ health, ottonova has found new ways to support its clients and keep them healthy. 

The first step is communication. Anyone who has spent much time in Germany – particularly in larger cities – will know that getting in touch with your health insurance provider can be difficult, with ‘difficult’ becoming ‘impossible’ on weekends and public holidays. 

With ottonova’s concierge service, you can get in touch with health-related questions or to have them schedule an appointment for you – all in English – and anytime you want or need it.

Interested in digital health insurance with a concierge service in English? Find out more

Besides being there for you when you really need them, ottonova supports you in adopting a holistic attitude to staying healthy, including early diagnostics, treating preventable conditions and using their revolutionary app to manage your healthcare.

While public insurance in Germany covers some preventative measures, ottonova private health insurance for expats earning €62,550 or more per year is far more comprehensive, giving you a holistic and complete way of managing your health. 

Prevention 2.0: Much, much better than cure

Prevention isn’t only about minimising your risks; it’s also a way to better diagnose and treat illnesses. 

The World Health Organisation has been telling us for decades about the importance of pre-emptive screening for cancer – between 30 and 50 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented through modifying or avoiding key risk factors.

Statutory healthcare in Germany has age restrictions when screening for prostate, breast, skin and cervical cancers, sadly leaving some people unaware of the disease for far too long. 

ottonova avoids this by disregarding age restrictions and covering earlier diagnostics for cancer, giving you the best possible chance of finding cancer sooner and quickly getting effective treatment.

Interested in comprehensive digital health insurance? Find out more about ottonova

Photo: bongkarn thanyakij / Pexels

Your personal healthcare consultant?

We all know the feeling. You’ve got a crucial deadline coming up – or better yet, a well-deserved vacation. You want to make sure you remain in peak condition – but don’t have the time for a trip to the doctor or to chase down your healthcare provider to find out what might be covered. 

ottonova’s concierge service is a team of English-speaking healthcare consultants who are always available – via call or chat – to give you information on health support measures and advice on staying in tip-top shape. 

Learn more about the English-speaking concierge team and other innovative services at ottonova

Healthcare starts with providing the right information at the right time. With ottonova, your personal healthcare consultant is just a click away. 

Sick on a weekend or public holiday? Even in big cities, that can sometimes be a big problem in Germany. Unfortunately, illnesses don’t take sick days. Fortunately, neither does ottonova. The ottonova team can set up a video call with a real doctor – 365 days a year. 

Photo: Owen Beard / Unsplash

Easing the pressure: advice and treatment for preventable conditions

Like the doctors they work with, ottonova’s concierge team are experts in understanding how to best treat preventable conditions. This means recognising risks early and taking the right steps to reduce them. 

Take high blood pressure, a condition which impacts one in three people in Germany. ottonova provides advice and covers the costs of treatment and equipment for people suffering from high blood pressure in order to take the pressure down.

Want to boost your health through the latest in prevention and diagnostics? Get in touch with ottonova now to find out what they can do for you.

Not content with being your personal healthcare consultant, ottonova is also your ‘health diary’ – reminding you about preventative care appointments, while also giving you useful tips on staying healthy. 

Struggling to navigate how to book an appointment in Germany? No problem – with ottonova’s digital appointment booking function, snagging an appointment is as easy as it gets. 

Oh when you’re smiling, oh when you’re smiling…

And then there’s dental…

In Germany you can expect to pay between 30 and 80 percent of the cost for dental work, with the obvious result being that you’re less likely to visit the dentist for a check-up. 

From fillings to teeth cleaning, well-maintained teeth are much less likely to require costly repair work further down the line. Luckily, ottonova has got your back, covering preventative dental work twice per year – making sure the whole world smiles with you! 

Stress-test your stress

From sleeplessness to anxiety, ‘stress’ is a term that captures many modern afflictions. One thing, however, that pretty much every doctor agrees on is that stress is bad for your health.

These negative impacts are all about the way your body responds to stress. As has been well established by medical experts such as Mayo Clinic, when we’re stressed, our nervous system releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare the body for action.

While in the natural world this means we suddenly get the impetus and the strength to climb a tree to avoid a bear, in the modern world this has a genuinely destructive day-to-day impact on our health – particularly for our immune system.

As a result, we’re more likely to lose sleep and get sick – which creates a negative spiral effect on your health. 

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

The best way is to learn how to tackle stress before it tackles you. By signing up with ottonova’s First Class Tariff, you can attend an anti-stress seminar as part of their preventative and curative health services program.

Not only do you learn about the factors which underline stress, but how to manage it with ‘anti-stress training’.

Find out more about how ottonova’s digital health insurance is designed to make your life more convenient and keep you feeling your best through a modern, preventative approach.

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

For members


How to make the most of Germany’s long summer days

In Germany the sun sets late and rises early in the summer months. The Local's reporters share their favourite activities for taking advantage of the long hours of daylight.

How to make the most of Germany's long summer days

Germany doesn’t quite get to see the “midnight sun” – how’s it going up there Norway? – but it is located far enough north to enjoy rather long days during the late spring and summer seasons.

The summer solstice, called Sommersonnenwende in German, marks the longest day and also the beginning of the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the town of Flensburg, which is near Germany’s northern border with Denmark, the sun sets at 10:06 pm and rises at 4:41 on the summer solstice, amounting to approximately 17 hours and 24 minutes of daylight.

Central and southern German cities get a little less daylight, but still enjoy late night sunsets and early morning sun rises. Berlin, for example, gets 16 hours and 50 minutes of daylight on the solstice. Munich gets just over 16 hours of light on the longest day.

Especially for people who moved to Germany from more southerly latitudes, watching the sunset at 10 pm or noticing the sky lighten at four in the morning can be a surreal experience.

But of course the flip side of long days in the summer are long nights in the winter, giving you all the more reason to take advantage of all the light while you can.

Here’s a few things to do with your extra daylight hours during the German summer:

Add outdoor sports to your ‘Feierabend’ routine

Germans place a high value on work-life balance, and this is perhaps best seen in the importance placed on the Feierabend, or your after-work time.

READ ALSO: Why every country should get on board with the German Feierabend

During the winter having a dinner date, or more simply a Feierabendbierchen, are the main after-work activities that come to mind. But during Germany’s long summer days, you still have plenty of daylight left to go skating in the park, or enjoy a bicycle tour of the city, even if you work until 6 pm or later.

sunset jog

Jogging, biking and other sports are all possible after work during Germany’s long summer days. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

Some people really take advantage of the extended light – using that extra time for physical activities that they might not otherwise get to do during work days. It’s not uncommon to see people stand-up paddle boarding on the river, or rock climbing, late into the evening in the summer.

Go for an early morning stroll

Germany’s early morning sunrises can be a bit of a controversial topic.

For the early birds, they offer an opportunity to get ahead of the day before your work day or other obligations begin. For the night owls who currently lack shutters, they can be an unwelcome wake-up call.

But with the sky lightening as early as 4:30 am, whether you’ve freshly woken up, or are heading home after a long night out, you may want to consider taking advantage of a unique opportunity for a morning walk. 

Especially for those who tend to sleep in, an early stroll can allow you to see the world anew – complete with birdsongs in the air and the smell of freshly baked bread wafting out of local bakeries.

Enjoy some of Germany’s summer events and festivals

The summer season is a good one for outdoor events and festivals in Germany, and especially in June and July, attendees can add a catching a late evening sunset to a fest day’s itinerary.

There are a number of festivals worth checking out in June in Germany, including some events scheduled for the longest day itself, such as this solstice celebration in Conneforde or Fête de la Musique in Berlin.

A couple others worth mentioning are the Tollwood Summer Festival in Munich or the Rose and Light performance night in Frankfurt’s Palm Garden.

Stay tuned for a list of July events we’ll be sharing soon.

Catch a film at an open air cinema

Germany loves open air cinemas – it’s home to hundreds of them – and a mid-summer eve is really the best time to experience one.

To find an outdoor theatre near you, try searching for ‘Freiluftkino’ + your city name. 

But be sure to keep languages in mind while looking over screening programs. If you don’t yet have the German skills to enjoy a movie auf Deutsche, you’ll want to look out for films marked OV (original version), OmU (original version with German subtitles) or OmeU (orginal version with English subtitles). 

an open air cinema

Spectators watch a film at the open-air cinema in Oranienburg Castle Park at dusk. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jens Kalaene

Watch (or play) some football

This year, you have the added option of watching Euro 2024 football games – often late into the evening – until July 14th.

Of course watching football is something you can always enjoy in the comfort of your own home. But this year you can join in the real-world frenzy that is the UEFA Euros Championship outside at one of the official fan zones, or otherwise at your favourite beer garden, späti or sports bar with outdoor seating.

This has the added benefit of allowing you to watch the game, while also taking in a the summer breeze.

And if watching Die Mannschaft score a couple goals is particularly inspiring, you might still have enough light to head to your local park and kick a ball around after.

Take a wild dip in refreshing waters

Summer in Germany is often accompanied by at least a few heatwaves: a string of hot, sticky days when temperatures soar and it’s tempting to just stay indoors.

In warm weather, though, there’s nothing quite like venturing out to a picturesque lake or a beach along Germany’s rugged coastline and taking a wild dip.

Though you can’t expect temperatures as warm as the Mediterranean sea, that’s part of the charm: bathing in cool, refreshing waters is the ideal medicine for lethargy during those sweltering summer afternoons. 

There are a range of studies that show that outdoor swimming is good for the soul – not to mention great for your health. From releasing mood-enhancing endorphins to boosting immunity and improving cardiovascular health, it’s no wonder wild swimming is known as one of the best natural highs around. 

READ ALSO: ‘Go early and stay late’ – Your tips for making the most of Germany’s lakes

With reporting by Imogen Goodman