Most of this diary has already been posted as a comment in this diary, but it did not get a lot of eyeballs, so I decided to make it into a (pimped and updated) diary.
Last weekend Mrs F was rushed to hospital here in Germany, suffering from symptoms that resembled a mini stroke, dizziness, speech and hearing loss, loss of motor skills etc. She was only half conscious. She had all the signs of being drunk, despite not having had an alcoholic drink for almost 24 hours.
After arriving at 1.45 pm, she was being seen by a generalist doctor at 2.pm, and a neurologist by 2.15.
Over the next couple of days, she had the following diagnostic treatments
electrical conductivity tests on her nervous system, and the final diagnosis was stage 3 Lyme disease. (she was diagnosed with Lyme earlier this year and given anti-biotics, but presumably not enough.)
She is now recovering well with massive doses of antibiotics, and left hospital on Friday.
We don't know what the bill will be, but I expect it to around €70 or less than $100, as all she pays is a €10 per day contribution towards hospital food etc.
Her insurance cost is related to her salary ( 7.5%) with a cap at around $500 per month. ( I am considered self employed, so I have to pay the full 15%, but as it is tax deductible, my net cost is 58% of 15%, which comes to around 9% of income, capped at around €600 before tax.
Germany does not have single payer, but a network of for not for profit private insurers. These insurance companies compete for business by the marginal benefits they offer - extended dental coverage, "cures" in coastal or mountain retreats etc
There are no medical bankruptcies here. If you are sick, you do not hesitate 1 second to go to a hospital or see a doctor. Basic dental treatment and vision are included, but if you want cosmetic dentistry or designer frames for your glasses expect to pay the supplement.
There is a mandate in Germany, and if you have the funds you are obliged to join either one of the statutory non profits or take private insurance. If you are unemployed, and have no back up wealth, the state will take care of the premiums (certain exceptions apply for older immigrants with no insurance history in Germany)
As part of the EU, your medical cover is applicable in all 27 EU members, and for a small extra fee you can get world wide emergency cover.
Oh, and by the way, did I mention that Germany spends far less on health care than the US as a percentage of GDP?