Everybody in Germany is legally required to have health insurance. Without adequate coverage, you won't be able to get a residence permit, enroll in university or start your job. The two types available are the statutory and private health insurance systems ─ which one applies to you depends on your employment status, gross salary and age.
The GP, or Hausarzt, should be your first point of contact in all health-related issues. If necessary, he or she will refer you to a specialist for further research or treatment. You should always book an appointment in advance, by phone or online. Before your first appointment at the GP, you'll need to fill out some forms to register at that practice. If you have a German health insurance card, your personal data is electronically saved in the chip on your card.
Women can book an appointment with a gynaecologist or Frauenarzt without contacting their GP first. Gynaecologists prescribe birth-control, perform regular check-ups and provide pregnancy assistance.
Should you feel the need to address mental health issues, do not hesitate to contact your GP for him or or her to refer you to a specialist. Visits to psychologists, psychiatrists and other therapists are completely accepted in German culture, and information concerning your mental health is handled confidentially by law. If you're publicly insured, your Krankenkasse will cover at least some, if not all of the costs for mental health care. It's advisable to call your health insurance provider in advance to check your options.
There are many pharmacies all around Hamburg. Most of the time you can find a pharmacy next to, or near a doctor's practice. Here, you can get prescribed medication such as antibiotics as well as over-the-counter medicine.
Except for emergencies, you'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Most hospitals in Hamburg are public hospitals (Öffentliche Krankenhäuser) run by local authorities. Other options are voluntary, non-profit making hospitals (Frei gemeinnützige Krankenhäuser) or private hospitals (Privatkrankenhäuser). Find the full list here.
If you're flying into or out of Hamburg and need urgent medical care, Hamburg airport has a medical centre, a dental practice and a pharmacy.