Health Tourism: When The Germans Are Moving

The numbers of German cross-border health tourism are growing

The 55% of Germans is imagined as a health touristIn the northern regions of Germany such as Bremen, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the percentage rises to 62%, according to a survey by the IUBH Touristik-Radar (Bad Honner International University 2016).


More than half of Germans would be willing to travel to another country to undergo treatment, surgery or treatment at a spa. Which translates into great potential and at the same time a great challenge to attract this health tourism group.

Since October 25, 2013, the European directive on cross-border healthcare, which marks the rights of patients for safe and quality treatment in the European Union and the reimbursement of the costs (ie until your country and country in which you will be subjected to treatment and/or intervention will offer the insured the same type of operation and/or treatment ), the flow of German patients subjected to treatment and treatment or abroad has increased.

Although the German health system enjoys a good reputation, some treatments are not fully covered or fall outside the benefits of all German medical insurance, of which 112 are public and 44 private. Especially for pensioners or those who do not have a high salary is the most important point when deciding on treatment or operation in another country.

More and more people are repeating the experience of health tourism

According to a survey by one of the largest public insurers in Germany “Techniker Krankenkasse (TK)”, among more than 3,300 participants who planned to leave Germany for an operation or treatment, most of them find it important to make the best use your own money by organizing trips in order to be able to combine business with pleasure.

39% of respondents combined medical treatment with a holiday trip

43% of respondents returned abroad more than once to perform the same treatments. Two important aspects to consider to understand the displacement outside the border are the degree of trust established over time with the foreign doctor and the host health facility but also the long waiting lists in the hospital and private facilities in Germany.

An identikit of German health tourists

Most German health tourists are over fifty, according to the TK survey, 11% between 18 and 49 years old. And 8% are over 80 years old. German pensioners are much more active than before, they are increasingly doing research on the Internet in the pages of health facilities and in their connected social channels.

One patient out of two has, according to the TK survey, a gross income of between 1,000 and 2,500 euros. One in ten between 750 and 1,000 euros. However, among German health tourists there are many people with a high level of education : 54% have finished high school, 32% have graduated from university and 3% have a research doctorate.

Health tourism: where do German tourists travel?

Especially towards southern and western Europe, especially towards Hungary and Croatia where more and more modern clinics are opening up. In the Czech RepublicPoland and Turkey there is a big boom in German patients, including many men and women who want to undergo cosmetic surgery. Even neighboring countries such as AustriaItaly, and Switzerland have a good influx, especially because here they can easily combine medical care with cultural and food and wine holidays in places of the sea, lake or mountain.