The German Health Care System – A Concise Overview

Posted on 14. April 2016 by Ratgeber in Bücher

Obermann, Müller, Müller, Glazinski (Eds.)
2nd Edition



Understanding and accessing the largest health care market in Europe

With a total volume of around EUR 320 billion, Germany is a large and attractive health care market. Like most other mature systems, the financing and provision of health is complicated, ever-changing and massively influenced by special-interest groups. The duality of social and private health insurance, the importance of data protection, the governing function of the Ministry of Health, the inherently private for-profit nature of most providers and the importance of corporate co-operatives managing the self-administration are some of the key elements in this system.

This book is intended for the international reader wanting to get a swift yet comprehensive introduction into how health care is delivered, financed and governed in Germany. It will assist in preparing for working in Germany, devising a market access strategy and identifying potential pitfalls and misunderstandings when dealing with German counterparts.

The editors are uniquely qualified in presenting this introduction as they all have more than 20 years’ experience, come from different professional backgrounds and have worked in different functions across the system.

From the editors' foreword of the first edition:

“We realized that firstly, the German system was rather complex and could only be understood when combining a historical perspective with major current approaches to reform. Secondly, we were not well prepared to give answers that would put things into perspective. When searching for a concise overview, it became clear that there was a gap between brief overviews (in leaflets and brochures) and scholarly, in-depth presentations. In addition, publications in English were even more rare. With this book, we aim to present a novel approach that will hopefully allow students, foreign scholars, and practicioners alike to gain a quick grasp and understanding.”

From the preface written by Professor Joachim Fischer M.D., Director Mannheim Institute of Public Health (MIPH), Heidelberg University:

“The German health care system, established in the late 19th century, is historically the first universal health care system. After World War II, in line with the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” of 1948, other universal health care systems emerged all over Europe, some following the German example, some coming up with new ways to administer and finance health care for their people.

The development of individual health care systems in Europe created a wide variety of variations, e. g. concerning the way systems are fi nanced, the organization of the public health care system, the extent to which diff erent stakeholders are involved (e. g. the state, insurance providers, professionals etc.), the main contributors and other interesting distinctions. In trying to understand the complex health care systems that have evolved, a large number of aspects need to be taken into account. On a governmental level, one of the most important aspects is cost- eff ectiveness. Although the German health care system is among the systems providing a very high quality of health care, it is also one of the most expensive and keeps undergoing reforms to reduce costs and maintain or improve quality.

This book aims to provide an interested international audience with insight into the ‘German way’ of providing universal health care with all its advantages and disadvantages. We hope it will contribute to facilitating a better understanding of the German health care system by providing information on a multitude of aspects for scientific and practical discussions and exchange.”



About the Editors:

Prof. Konrad Obermann M.D., Ph.D. is an international adviser on health systems and financing and heads the Master of Science in Health Economics program at Heidelberg University.

Dr. Peter Müller is a trained journalist and managing director of the Stiftung Gesundheit (Public Health Foundation), Hamburg. He teaches Management of Not-for-Profit-Organizations (MBA) at the US Touro College.

Hans-Heiko Müller is a registered nurse and business administrator. He is head of health economics at pfm medical ag and managing director of the pfm medical Institute gGmbH, Cologne.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Glazinski is a psychologist and professor of business psychology at Cologne University of Applied Sciences and Bratislava University, Slovakia.