Does the electronic health card for asylum seekers lead to an excessive use of the health system? Results of a survey in two municipalities of the German ruhr area

P. Jäger*, K. Claassen, N. Ott, A. Brand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The initial and intermediate-term access of refugees to healthcare in Germany is limited. A previous study showed that the obligation to request healthcare vouchers at the social security offices decreases the asylum seekers' consultation rate of ambulant physicians. The introduction of the Electronic Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for asylum seekers is considered skeptically by some municipalities and federal states, among other reasons due to the fear of an overuse of health care services by asylum seekers. The aim of this study is to further evaluate the data of the authors' initial study with a new focus on inpatient care as well as a differentiation of the ambulant consultation rate into general practitioners and outpatient specialists.The now-differentiated consultation rate of the initial study as well as the asylum seekers' use of inpatient care are compared to the values of the sex- and age-corrected autochthonous population as given by the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS1). A mean difference test (student's t-test) is used for comparison and significance testing.Asylum seekers who were in possession of the EHIC were significantly less likely to visit their ambulant general practitioners and specialists than the German autochthonous population. Simultaneously, this difference is partly compensated for by their more frequent use of impatient care.There is no indication that the EHIC leads to an overuse of healthcare services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1178
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

JEL classifications

  • i14 - Health and Inequality
  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"


  • Access to healthcare
  • Electronic health insurance card
  • Prevention and medical care of refugees
  • Refugee health
  • Refugees’ use of outpatient and inpatient medical care
  • electronic health insurance card
  • access to healthcare
  • refugee health
  • prevention and medical care of refugees
  • refugees' use of outpatient and inpatient medical care

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