German health system

Germany’s health insurance serves as model for social health insurance projects world wide. In fact, as institution the social health insurance has been surprisingly successful and resilient over time – it celebrated its 125th birthday in 2008. The system has its problems and since the early 1990s a wave of progressively more fundamental reforms was enacted. A less well known fact is that Germany also has a private health insurance sector which covers about 10 percent of the population. The private system is fundamentally different from the social health insurance in aspects from financing to quality, and covers mostly civil servants and high-income earners. That system was also affected by the recent round of reforms. 

Up-to-date literature on the German health care system is somewhat rare, especially with regards to details. The recent reforms have changed fundamental elements of the system and so far I have not found a good summary of them all, in either German or English. Below some useful background, comments welcome.



Recent reforms




Background on the system




Empirical research


See also: Germany, Health