If you've searched the internet for health insurance that covers expats in East Germany then you are most likely for looking for established UK based health insurance companies that will cover your medical expenses in East Germany.
Living as an expatriate in East Germany you want to avoid any unwanted and unexpected medical costs. In some countries these can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds for serious conditions.
Our advice when shopping around for health insurance that covers expatriates living in East Germany is to speak to a insurance broker. Health insurance is incredibly complicated and if you want complete certainty that East Germany is covered you should consult with a broker who can explain which policy providers will cover medical expenses for expatriates in East Germany and which will not.
There are many advantages to using a broker but the biggest by far is that you're using their expertise at no cost. They are paid by the insurer (Aviva or Bupa etc) rather than you so it costs you no extra to use their brokering services.
- Do you live in many different areas? Some will give you a lower policy premium than offers. A insurance broker will be able to advise whats best.
- Do you have a hobby that may invalidate your insurance claim? A broker will know this critical information.
- If you are a couple and one of you has claimed on your policy this year would it be cheaper to separate you both onto two different insurance policies?
- You've lean't you're at risk of developing a certain medical condition and want to know which policy provider offers the largest amount of cover for it. A broker will know this instantly saving you so much time and effort.
You can call around every health insurance provider on the market and ask if they provider cover for expats in East Germany, however this will be a very time consuming process. Each insurer will ask for your medical history because its not normally a simple yes or not if a medical condition is covered or not.
Its much quicker to speak to one health insurance broker which will know which providers on the market offer cover for expats in East Germany and under what terms they do or don't cover it.
East Germany Information
A traveller would first book their trip at a travel agent that was accredited by the Reisebüro. The travel agent would then offer the traveller a choice of any of the many package tours that the Reisebüro offered. In some countries, travellers could book trips through participating domestic travel agents, which would then coordinate with the Reisebüro to make reservations.
Independent travel was permitted within the GDR, with motoring or taking a railway trip through the country being the most popular options. The itinerary would be arranged through the Reisebüro, and visits could be arranged at border posts and other Reisebüro offices in the GDR. More complicated excursions would be arranged before arrival, and the formalities involved with a holiday in the GDR (such as the visa, any hotel bookings, advice on currency exchange, etc.) would be taken care of by the Reisebüro. This made the border crossing between East and West Germany much smoother.
As with all states, foreign nationals from countries without the appropriate treaties were required to have visas to enter or exit the GDR. An exception involved military and civilian government personnel of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France based in West Germany and West Berlin who, when transiting to and from West Berlin via land routes (i.e., road and rail) and when in East Berlin, were under the jurisdiction of the Soviet Armed Forces and not the East German government.
All of the four basic visa types could, in theory, be arranged at the Reisebüro offices at the main border crossings. In practice, to avoid the bureaucracy in obtaining an entry visa – again, a process common to most modern states – it was simply easier to enter East Berlin on a day visa and then have an extension arranged at a Reisebüro office in the city. Visitors to East Germany could only enter the country by car, bus, or train – not by bicycle or on foot. The exceptions to this were international airports, as well as Checkpoint Charlie. A special case involved the Friedrichstraße train station in East Berlin, which one could reach from West Berlin by U-Bahn, S-Bahn, or long-distance train.
Visitors not on non-stop transit visas were required to change a minimum of DM25, or its equivalent in other hard currency, into GDR marks every day of their stay at the standard rate of 1:1. An exception was made for persons booking overnight hotel stays in the GDR, as the hotel charges were payable in hard currency and almost always exceeded the minimum daily exchange amount. The visa fee itself was an additional DM5–15 (depending on the type of visa).
In addition to visas, travellers to the GDR staying overnight (or longer) were required to register with the Volkspolizei (The People's Police). An "Aufenthaltsberechtigung" (residence entitlement) stamp would be placed in the traveller's passport; the names of each city or Bezirk (region) where the traveller was registered, as well as the expiration date of the registration, would be entered in the appropriate space. Many times, the hotel where the traveller stayed would take care of this for the traveller by taking the passport at check-in, giving the traveller a receipt, and returning the passport to the traveller the next morning, removing any inconvenience.
Gifts up to the value of 200 East German marks could be imported. This was not based on the price the traveller would have paid for them at home, but rather the price the item would sell for in East Germany.
Visitors to the GDR generally stayed in hotels belonging to the state-run Interhotel network. Contrary to the expectations of Westerners who envisioned the GDR hotels as run down, Interhotels (especially the Metropol and Grand Hotels in East Berlin, the Bellevue in Dresden, and the Merkur in Leipzig) met or exceeded international standards for hotel accommodations.
A room with a private bath would cost an extra 5 or 10 GDR marks. As previously noted, Western travellers were required to pay hotel charges in hard currency, even though the charges might be denominated in GDR marks.