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Open AccessArticle

Impact of the Introduction of the Electronic Health Insurance Card on the Use of Medical Services by Asylum Seekers in Germany

by Kevin Claassen 1 and Pia Jäger 2,*
1
Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
2
Department of Psychiatry Psychotherapy and Preventative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, LWL-University Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 856; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050856
Received: 17 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health)
Objectives: Asylum seekers in Germany represent a highly vulnerable group from a health perspective. Furthermore, their access to healthcare is restricted. While the introduction of the Electronic Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for asylum seekers instead of healthcare-vouchers is discussed controversially using politico-economic reasons, there is hardly any empirical evidence regarding its actual impact on the use of medical services. The aim of the study is to examine this impact on the use of medical services by asylum seekers as measured by their consultation rate of ambulant physicians (CR). Study Design: For this purpose, a standardized survey was conducted with 260 asylum seekers in different municipalities, some of which have introduced the EHIC for asylum seekers, while others have not. Methods: The period prevalence was compared between the groups “with EHIC” and “without EHIC” using a two-sided t-test. Multivariate analysis was done using a linear OLS regression model. Results: Asylum seekers in possession of the EHIC are significantly more likely to seek ambulant medical care than those receiving healthcare-vouchers. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that having to ask for healthcare-vouchers at the social security office could be a relevant barrier for asylum seekers. View Full-Text
Keywords: public health; asylum seeker; Electronic Health Insurance Card; refugee; Germany public health; asylum seeker; Electronic Health Insurance Card; refugee; Germany
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Claassen, K.; Jäger, P. Impact of the Introduction of the Electronic Health Insurance Card on the Use of Medical Services by Asylum Seekers in Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 856.

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