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


Living in Germany: Skilled worker shortage getting worse, Bundestag dome mix-up and beer culture

In this week's roundup we talk about the growing issue of Germany's worker shortage, an embarrassing political mix-up involving the Bundestag dome and the significance of German beer culture.

Living in Germany: Skilled worker shortage getting worse, Bundestag dome mix-up and beer culture

Living in Germany is our weekly look at some of the news and talking points in Germany that you might not have heard about. Members can receive it directly to their inbox on Saturday.

Skilled worker shortage in Germany laid bare in new report

We published a story this week on a survey that shone a light on Germany’s recruitment problems. The latest ifo Business Survey, which keeps in touch with around 9,000 companies throughout Germany, found that the need for skilled workers is going up. According to the survey results, 43.1 percent of firms reported suffering from a shortage of qualified workers in July, up from 42.2 percent in April 2023. The situation will only get worse in future. The main issue is demographics – many people are leaving or are due to leave the workforce to retire – but not enough people are joining it. The Institute for Employment Research (IAB) calculated that the labour market is at risk of losing seven million people in Germany to retirement by 2035. 

To combat this, the German government has been working on an overhaul of immigration laws to make it easier for people to come to the country and work, as The Local has extensively reported on. Experts say the focus has to be on nations from outside of Europe because nearby countries, like Spain, Italy and France, are facing similar demographic issues. Meanwhile, in countries where traditionally people have moved to Germany for work – such as Poland and the Czech Republic – the labour market situation has improved, making emigration less of an attractive option. But Germany can’t just rely on immigration; more has to be done to get residents into the workforce. One way of doing that is to make work more attractive, whether it’s offering better pay or more perks.. A new initiative testing out a four-day work week in Germany could offer up a solution. Whatever the case, Germany will need to take action now to prevent a crisis in the future.

Tweet of the week

The opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) were left red-faced this week after they accidentally used an image of the Georgian palace instead of the German Bundestag in their new logo. The party then released a tweet poking fun at themselves, saying: “We had a lot of domes to choose from and have now picked the only right one.” 

Where is this?


Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Karmann

Perhaps you recognise the architecture in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg in this photo. And if you look closely, you’ll spot workers trying to salvage a 100-year-old poplar tree that fell into the Pegnitz river on Wednesday night. No one was injured and there was no damage to the surrounding buildings including the Maximillian Bridge. The tree was a popular Nuremberg landmark. According to the city, these types of poplars can live for around 100 to 120 years. As they age, they become brittle and can break during storms.

Did you know?

Germans love their beer – and rightly so because it is delicious. But did you know how embedded beer culture is in Germany? Christina Schönberger, a brewing engineer at Nuremberg-based BarthHaas, a Hops supplier to brewers, told the Germany in Focus podcast recently that beer has been “an integral part of German culture for many centuries”. But she pointed out that there have been big changes over the years brought about by different influences. 

Germany still has many family-owned mid-size breweries in operation, as well as larger companies. “A big part of the family-owned companies date back to the 18-and-1900s where the possibility was given to basically, in an industrial fashion, produce bottom fermented beers (such as pilsner and lager)  – that’s when a lot of breweries opened up,” said Schönberger. “We also still have a couple of breweries that go back to the 10th, 11th or 12th centuries from monasteries where there were a lot of monks involved in brewing in a religious context.”

Schönberger said it’s only in the last 200-300 years that wheat beers emerged into the culture. There have been “a lot of influences throughout the centuries that brought beer to the level of cultural importance that it has today,” she said. Meanwhile, beer experts are noticing a change in trends, with more Germans drinking alcohol-free beer. “I think it’s very good because alcohol is actually the only part of beer that doesn’t make beer a super healthy drink,” said Schönberger.