Hospitals are an integral part of healthcare systems. In Germany, healthcare is financed through a public, or statutory, health insurance system, which covers a broad range of medical care. The contributions are divided between employees and employers. The amount of these payments is based on a percentage of the earned income (14.6 percent in 2021). German health insurance can be public and private. Public health insurance is mandatory for everyone earning less than 5,062 euros a month in gross income (as of 2020). Private health insurance schemes cover those who are not part of the compulsory health insurance system, or it can be taken out as additional health service coverage.
In general, Germany provides outpatient and inpatient medical care. Regardless of the type of health insurance, all insurance holders are accepted by German hospitals and the insurance covers medical costs. Those who are not covered by German health insurance have to pay the full cost of treatments themselves. Hospitals are divided into public (overseen by local authorities), voluntary (managed by churches or non-profit organizations), and private (commercial) establishments.
A common concern of some health economists is that Germany has too many hospitals. When breaking this down, experts point out that for the most part, areas with a high population density and urban locations count noticeably more hospitals than rural parts of the country. There have been calls for wide-reaching structural changes of the system on a national level, which is supposed to be handled by the ongoing hospital reform (Krankenhausreform) and the hospital structure law (Krankenhausstrukturgesetz). The number of hospitals in Germany has been decreasing year after year. Hospitals varied by the number of beds they offered patients, with most hospitals having a capacity of less than 50 beds. 96 hospitals offered at least 800 beds. In 2019, German hospitals had more than 928,000 full-time employees and handled 19.4 million patient cases.
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