German Health care for cancer patient


I am looking to find an IT job abroad and one of the countries I am considering is Germany. The problem is that my husband is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, we have a 2 yrs old son and I wouldn't consider moving without them. Does anybody know, if I take the job, will they also be insurred?  Will my husband receive the treatment he needs (chemotherapy, maybe surgery) as part of the insurance or we will have to pay?

Thank you for any info on this!

Health insurance membership in Germany is a very complicated topic, so you should seek advise from a professional who really understands the system.
Here is, in short, my understanding (without warranty for accuracy and completeness):
- If you are working in Germany, you must have German health insurance.
- There are two systems: Public and private health insurance. Whether you must join one or the other, or in some cases have a choice, depends on where you're from, how you were insured there, your income and whether you have ever been insured in Germany before.
- The public scheme costs a percentage of your salary and offers standardized and in some cases limited treatment coverage. The private scheme offers, depending on which of the many available tariffs you choose, anything from barebones coverage to first class treatment. Costs depend on your age, prior conditions and the tariff you choose and are usually higher than the public scheme.
- If you join the public scheme, your husband and son can be covered as dependants (as long as they have no own income, anywhere in the world!) free of charge. If not, they have to get (and pay for) their own insurance. With an existing cancer diagnosis, this will only be affordable in the public scheme.

Hi Beppi and thank you for taking your time to answer! 
Is cancer treatment covered entirely by public   scheme or do you know where could I 'find' the right people to ask?
Is it an option to have both public and private scheme?

The public scheme covers all "necessary" treatments, but I have no idea what they deem "necessary" in case of cancer.
It is possible to be doubly insured in public and private scheme, but you get every treatment and medicine paid only once. At €360-720/month fee (public scheme, private usually more) this doesn't sound sensible.

It is hard to know beforehand every detail of what will be considered necessary coverage under the German public healthcare system but it is usually very good. Another approach to this question would be to ask where the coverage would be better? If I were to end up in the hospital anywhere in the world, I would choose Germany, although there are of course varying degrees of treatment available from hospital to hospital. For specialized care one would usually want to be in a big city hospital that specializes in such things rather than a local rural or small town facility. Medicine is advanced in Germany but also a bit on the cautious side. This may mean that some of the newest treatments available elsewhere might not be approved or paid for by the Germany system.

My personal experience is that I had a hospital stay in Germany once for a life threatening illness. I'm covered under the public health system and got EVERYTHING paid for. They were not sure of the diagnosis and did a MRT, multiple ultrasounds and many other tests that would likely not have been approved by the insurance companies in America for example. One hears of amazing new procedures done in the US but even many standard ones will not actually get paid for unless one has a Cadillac gold premium policy.

Hi Tomin,
Yes, I agree you cannot know all the details beforehand and with the fact that in this situation, where to receive this kind of treatment is the most important point on our list for moving in another country. This is why I am trying to identify at least some reliable sources.
We are struggling with this for a year now, with the help of our friends, colleagues and NGOs and the treatment so far was outside our country at great cost. Because here, unfortunately, you don't receive even the basics, not to mention access new procedures/treatments.
So, what I am aiming for is at least access to a good healthcare system(good conditions, good drugs, good doctors) for which I will pay a reasonable amount per month(even 720E/month, as Beppi mentioned above, seems reasonable for me giving the condition).
A very good point that I will probably find better(more) of these services in bigger cities, so thanks for pointing that out and giving me a new perspective.

Since you are EU citizen (according to your profile), you can at least freely move to Germany.
As far as I understand (but please confirm this with a professional, as the rules are very complex!) you then must join the health insurance system (public or private) equivalent to the one you are now member of in your home country.
Since only public health insurance fits your purpose (the private insurers will either exclude cancer treatment as it is a pre-existing condition, or charge more than you can pay), this would only work if you are in your home country's public insurance scheme now.
Unfortunately I know nothing about health insurance in Romania.
But I can understand the worries you are going through and I wish you good luck!

This site gives a good overview in English of the German health care system:

This page has a good info graphics that does a good job at giving a good overview of the system for total beginners/newcomers: … e-germany/

JacquesFR: Thanks for this excellent find!

I have to thank Reddit for that.


Rroxana wrote:

Hi Beppi and thank you for taking your time to answer! 
Is cancer treatment covered entirely by public   scheme or do you know where could I 'find' the right people to ask?
Is it an option to have both public and private scheme?

From experience of both of my parents' cancer treatment, both on statutory insurance (public scheme):

All treatment that was suggested by the doctors was also paid for in full by the health insurance:

- surgery
- hospital stay
- radiation treatment
- chemotherapy
- medication
- physiotherapy
- compression sleeves and stockings made to measure
- walker
- 2 x 3 weeks stay at a curative facility, once directly after surgery/chemo and once a year later, including single room with en suite bathroom, physiotherapy, advice by a nutritionist, counseling, art therapy, extra curricular activities

I am sure there was more but the above I am certain about.

My father earned very well when he was of working age and he could have opted for private insurance but he always said he wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole!