Health insurance is mandatory in Germany, and they actually fine you if you are not enrolled in a health insurance plan. There are two types of insurance: private and public.
When I first got here, I ended up getting the equivalent of traveler’s insurance from a private German health insurance company while I waited for the health check (both doctor’s and dentist’s) to go through for my coverage to start. As a freelancer, you’re required to have private health insurance.
But then I got the offer to be employed on a regular status – a normal employee instead of freelance – and that changed my plans for health insurance as well. Now that I’m fest angestellt, I am automatically enrolled in a public health insurance provider of my choice and the payments come directly from my paycheck. How exciting! The best part is, I got this awesome card. It’s much cooler than any of the previous health insurance cards I’ve had. That gold chip on the card is something very European – it’s on the credit and debit cards, too. I wonder how long it will take the US to get around to using something like that.
Tobias just informed be about co-pays: YOU ONLY PAY THEM ONCE EVERY 3 MONTHS. To one doctor. So if you go to two doctors, you tell the second one that you’ve already paid your co-pay. I LOVE EUROPE. The US is crazy not to want universal healthcare. Tobi laughed at my reaction. Apparently the Germans are angry about that because it used to be free. Lol. It’s like the Studiengebühren – the fees you pay your university – which is next to nothing compared to the tuition you pay for college in the States.
No, it’s not a cold, I’m just allergic. (Please stop asking!)
So now I can go to the doctor’s. I have a few things on my health list that I’ve been putting off, and now’s a good time to start getting things looked into. Allergy testing being my number one priority.
I was allergy tested as a child (those awful pinprick tests – luckily mine were on my arms and not my back) and I learned that I was allergic to pretty much everything – cats and dogs (and anything else with fur – horses being the absolute worst), pollen, flowers, mold, mildew, and all that jazz. As a kid I used to say, “I’m allergic to almost everything, but I’m NOT allergic to cockroaches!” As if it were even useful information. I can count the number of times I’ve seen cockroaches on one hand. It’s not like we lived in Florida or somewhere down south where they have big, monster cockroaches. But as a kid, I was just excited to have something I wasn’t allergic to.
Nowadays, at least once every 3 classes, one of my students or coworkers or people who don’t know me very well will ask me, “Are you ill? Do you have a cold?” “No,” I always reply, “I have allergies.” It’s really starting to get on my nerves! People – stop asking me every week! I promise I’ll let you know when I actually do have a cold and you should stay away from me, but otherwise please stop freaking out when I sneeze and being worried that you’ll catch something. The last time I heard, you can only catch allergies genetically — from your parents. I am no threat to you.
But anyway, I think I’ll get tested again and then see what kind of lovely cocktail of medicine or treatment the doctors can come up with to help me be able to breathe again. As much as the comments from people bother me, it’s not as bad as actually having allergies and suffering from it. I can’t remember the last time I could breathe from both nostrils. I wonder what that feels like…it must feel so great! So now I can finally go get checked out.
One less thing to worry about. Life is good.