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German healthcare goes digital: What you need to know

German healthcare goes digital: What you need to know

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DiGA what? Digital healthcare is a growing market in Germany - and one you should be familiar with, to make the most of your health insurance. Mirja Lundehn from KLforExpats explains what DiGA means and what you need to know about digital healthcare in Germany.

Times are changing, technology is evolving, and thankfully, the healthcare system in Germany is following suit! When choosing between different insurance providers, it’s important to consider the costs and benefits you’re covered for. But it’s also equally important to assess the quality of care on offer, how it’s delivered, and how easy that care is for you to access.

That’s why, when selecting a health insurance provider in Germany, you might want to look into their policies around Digital Health Applications, or DiGA for short. 

The Digital Supply Act in Germany

Introduced as part of the Digital Supply Act in 2020, DiGA refers to innovative medical products that are delivered… you guessed it, digitally - predominantly via apps. DiGA simplifies how individuals are diagnosed and treated, effectively making healthcare quicker, easier and in many ways more effective.

Most DiGA products aim to assist in an array of medical needs such as detection and monitoring, through to treatment or alleviation of disease, and also support patients in accessing compensation for injuries and disabilities. Some of the diagnoses that DiGA can assist with include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Burnout
  • Sleep disorders
  • Migraines
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Back pain
  • Knee problems
  • Hip pain 
  • And more - with many other developments already in the works.

Of course, the various apps considered part of the DiGA system have to meet certain quality standards related to function as well as data security and protection. 

How can DiGA apps be used as part of your healthcare plan?

DiGA apps cost approximately 400 euros per quarter to use. Whilst this is by no means a small upfront cost, it can be reimbursed by your provider and economise your treatment in the long run.

Currently, DiGA health products are prescribed by doctors and psychotherapists. Apps that are part of the scheme can be found via the official DiGA Directory (in German). Typically, if you want to use one of these apps, you need a prescription before your health insurance provider will cover the cost. Those who need ongoing medical assistance will need their prescription to be regularly updated. 

Are DiGA apps covered by both statutory and private health insurance?

With the introduction of the Digital Supply Act (2020), digital health applications have been made mandatory for all statutory health providers.

However, since private health insurers are independent companies, they determine their own benefits and unless they are forward-thinking and modern, won’t always include DiGA as part of their health insurance policies.

This is why, as with anything related to your health insurance, it’s important to consider the fine print. It’s also why it’s a good idea to consult an experienced health insurance broker who can help point you in the right direction.

Want to learn more about DiGA and how choosing the right health insurance provider can help you get the most out of it? Get in touch with the independent, English-speaking health insurance brokers at KLforExpats. They are friendly, easy to work with and offer bespoke advice for every individual. Best of all, their service is completely free. Get in touch and see how KLforExpats can support you.

Mirja Lundehn

Author

Mirja Lundehn

Managing Director of KremerLundehn, an insurance brokerage located in Cologne/Germany - English/German consultation.

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