Psychiatry and Medication-New to Germany

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Hello Toytown,

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays! I am a recent arrival to Munich (as of December 1st) with my husband and we are currently in the process of navigating insurance. I have read previous posts from a few years ago but the information seems contradictory so I am hoping someone can help clarify things for me.  

Background: I take Effexor 37.5mg per day (Venlafaxine) as prescribed by the psychiatrist back in California. Moving here I got a three month supply (which is now at 2 months) to hold me over while I navigate and enroll in insurance. First step was getting housing, which around the holidays was a little harder to do but we finalized last Friday. Now I have time to focus on this but I am not sure what type of insurance to get that will cover the medicine and psychiatry appointments. I will not need a therapist as I am doing online therapy but I do need this prescription. A German friend mentioned I would have to see a psychiatrist for this medication rather than a general practitioner but she wasn't 100% sure about that. My questions are the following:

1. What insurance (private or public or both) should I be looking at to cover this mental health need?

2. How long does the set up process take for insurance in Germany? 

3. Would anyone know in the medical field if a general practitioner could prescribe this? 

 

My main concern is going without the medication as the side effects or withdrawal is not pleasant. I did my best navigating this back in California but ran into reading posts about how private insurance flat out denies you when you have a pre-existing mental health issue. However, it also said public insurance would give you the run-around when trying to get this kind of medication (antidepressant) covered. 

Things to note:

A. I do not speak German yet but I am enrolling in classes January! 

B. I have the means to pay out of pocket short term so I do not get off the medication but not long term. I also would like to get in the correct insurance system as soon as possible since this is a monthly need for me. 

C. I am very open to talking about this so if you have additional questions, do not hesitate. What is most important is that I figure this out soon so I am not without medication at some point. 

 

Many many thanks in advance to those that reply! You are helping a stranger in need :)

Cheers,

Becca 

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Quote

My main concern is going without the medication as the side effects or withdrawal is not pleasant. I did my best navigating this back in California but ran into reading posts about how private insurance flat out denies you when you have a pre-existing mental health issue. However, it also said public insurance would give you the run-around when trying to get this kind of medication (antidepressant) covered. 

Things to note:

A. I do not speak German yet but I am enrolling in classes January! 

B. I have the means to pay out of pocket short term so I do not get off the medication but not long term. I also would like to get in the correct insurance system as soon as possible since this is a monthly need for me. 

 

You need professional insurance advice from someone experienced with newly arrived foreigners. Contact @Starshollow or @john g. for assistance.

 

I hope either you or your husband has a German employment contract. 

 

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It is best to contact one of the specialists who also advertise here, e.g. @john g. or @Starshollow. But I don't know if they work "between the years". Their services cost you nothing. 

 

More important than the information about your medication are questions like what you do here - do you work, if so, what is your income, if you don't work, does your husband work, how will he be insured etc. Details that you might rather not see in public. 

 

My lay assessment (after several years of Toytown): No German private insurance will take you in and you will only get into the public health insurance if you are either an employee or have been accepted for artist/publishers status with the Künstlersozialkasse. 

 

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@Someonesdaughter: I do not work but my husband works for Microsoft, so I will be under his insurance. He gets a choice of public and/or private insurance. 

 

From your lay assessment, it sounds like that is what I read in the past "No German private insurance will take you in" so I think speaking with a professional might be my best option. Will contact them and hopefully get a response in the next few weeks. I totally understand that things are on hold for the holidays. 

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My GP (Hausarzt) prescribes my anti-depressant/anxiety meds. I tried Effexor years ago but it made me numb. Glad it works for you. All is covered by my public insurance. Make sure you don't run out - I hear the withdrawal is a nightmare.

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1 hour ago, fraufruit said:

I hear the withdrawal is a nightmare.

Which is why it´s not to be discontinued abruptly but the dose should gradually be reduced.

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General practitioners, in my family's experience, don't particularly like prescribing antidepressants but will do so at a pinch, e.g. to tide you over while you are on a psychiatrist's waiting list. They might want a copy of a diagnosis/medication plan from your previous doctor. Venlafaxine has been quite difficult to get hold of lately (world shortage of one of the ingredients, according to our pharmacist) so once you have your insurance sorted don't hang about getting your appointment and prescription. I'll leave it to the experts to advise on insurance but would also say that in my family member's case public insurance covers everything except the prescription charge.

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3 hours ago, beccac said:

@Someonesdaughter: I do not work but my husband works for Microsoft, so I will be under his insurance. He gets a choice of public and/or private insurance. 

 

From your lay assessment, it sounds like that is what I read in the past "No German private insurance will take you in" so I think speaking with a professional might be my best option. Will contact them and hopefully get a response in the next few weeks. I totally understand that things are on hold for the holidays. 

I have answered your PM message, beccac. If your husband has a German work contract, it is easy if you have no or very low worldwide income. But happy to send you information about the system in English.

I am not on hold for holidays. Tired, cold and freezing- yes!

😩

Disclaimer: I’m freezing in the damp weather and am , despite that , an independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser on Toytown.

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3 hours ago, someonesdaughter said:

It is best to contact one of the specialists who also advertise here, e.g. @john g. or @Starshollow. But I don't know if they work "between the years". Their services cost you nothing. 

 

More important than the information about your medication are questions like what you do here - do you work, if so, what is your income, if you don't work, does your husband work, how will he be insured etc. Details that you might rather not see in public. 

 

My lay assessment (after several years of Toytown): No German private insurance will take you in and you will only get into the public health insurance if you are either an employee or have been accepted for artist/publishers status with the Künstlersozialkasse. 

 

Perfect summary! Just one minor addition - family public insurance is doable if the OP has a low worldwide income.

👍🏼

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1 hour ago, Prosie said:

I'll leave it to the experts to advise on insurance but would also say that in my family member's case public insurance covers everything except the prescription charge.

 

Yes, I have to pay € 5 for my prescription every 100 days.

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