Germany - Health

Health insurance in Germany is available to everyone. Benefits are broad and nationally uniform, with only minor variations among plans. They include free choice of doctors; unlimited physician visits; preventive checkups; total freedom from out-of-pocket payments for physician services; unlimited acute hospital care (with a nominal co-payment); prescription drug coverage (with a minimal co-payment); comprehensive dental benefits (with a 25–30% co-payment); vision and hearing exams, glasses, aids, prostheses, etc.; inpatient and psychiatric care (and outpatient psychiatric visits); monthly home care allowances; maternity benefits; disability payments; and rehabilitation and/or occupational therapy. As of 1999, total health care expenditure was estimated at 10.5% of GDP. Expenditures on health are among the highest in the world.

As of 1999, Germany immunized its children up to one year old against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 85%; and measles, 75%.

In 1998, there were approximately 287,000 active physicians, of whom 112,683 were in private practice, including 43,659 general practitioners. As of 1999, there were an estimated 3.5 physicians and 9.3 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In the same year there were about 2,260 hospitals in Germany, with about 572,000 beds. A gradual deinstitutionalization of people with chronic mental illness has taken place since 1975, with the number of hospital beds declining from 150,000 in the former West Germany in 1976 to a total of 69,000 in Germany as a whole as of 1995.

Average life expectancy was 77 years in 2000. Infant mortality was 4 per 1,000 live births in the same year. As of 2002, the birth rate was estimated at 8.9 per 1,000 live births and the overall death rate at 10.4 per 1,000 people. Contraceptive use is high. Nearly 75% of married women 15–49 used some form of birth control in 1992. The total fertility rate in 2000 was 1.4 children per woman throughout her childbearing years. The maternal mortality rate was low at 8 deaths per 100,000 live births as of1998.

As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 37,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 600. HIV prevalence was 0.1 per 100 adults. At least 14,518 new cases of AIDS were reported in 1996.

Tobacco consumption has decreased significantly from 2.4 kg(5.3 lbs) in 1984 to 2.1 kg (4.6 lbs) a year per adult in 1995. The heart disease average in Germany was higher than the European average.

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