Your no-nonsense guide on Women’s Reproductive Health in Germany.
Germans and expats living in the country are considerably fortunate when it comes to healthcare since the benefits have long been recognized as generous. Not only does Germany have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, there’s very little to zero wait to receive tests or surgeries.
Health insurance is readily available and mandatory for all German citizens and immigrants staying in the country for an extended period. Individuals can obtain three types of health insurance, public health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV), private/international health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung, PKV), or a combination of both. To be eligible for public insurance, you must have made a gross income under €59,400 per year, or €4,950 per month. Anything above a means, one would need insurance through a private or an employer plan. Basic insurance plans cover in-patient and out-patient care, pregnancy care, prescription drugs, basic dental coverage…etc.
It is illegal for any insurance company (private or public) to deny anyone based on pre-existing conditions; however, premiums may be more expensive.
Abortion (eine abtreibung) in Germany is a tricky subject, however, § 218 in Germany’s penal code states that abortion is permitted only during the first trimester (before 12 weeks), after mandatory state-approved counseling, and a three-day grace period before the procedure. The wording is significant since “permitted” does not equate to “legal,” meaning that abortion is technically an illegal and criminal offense if not conducted in a heavily-regulated way. Activists are fighting against these unfair regulations claiming that:
“Someone else has control. We simply don’t have the right.”
Under medical circumstances, an abortion can be done past twelve weeks only if a woman is proven through examination to be in physical or mental danger or if a defect is discovered to be affecting the child’s health. Women who request abortions on criminal grounds, such as: rape, only have until 12 weeks to do so. The patient’s circumstance must be proven by a doctor and must provide a medical certificate. Counseling is not required before the abortion.
Methods of pregnancy termination include medical abortion via the pill RU486 (commonly known as Mifegyne®,) and surgical abortion. A medical abortion can be carried out until 63 days after the first day of a woman’s last period.
Under circumstances of medical or criminal reasons, insurance typically covers abortions. If an abortion is needed for any other reason, however, then medical cost would be her responsibility.
Germany offers various forms of contraception (Verhütungsmittel). Emergency contraception has been readily available in any pharmacy and family planning clinic since March 2015; the cost can range from €5 – €17 depending on how it is obtained. Hormonal contraception, such as: birth control (pills, injections, IUD) is usually covered by insurance for women of the age 22 and over. About 90% of people are covered through public insurance. Out-of-pocket pricing can range depending on the form of birth control you request.