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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

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Section for Social Policy and Social Economy, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstr. 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
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Department of International Health, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Duboidomein 30, 6229 CT Maastricht, The Netherlands
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Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, Alfred-Herrhausen-Straße 50, 58448 Witten, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071178
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: There is no indication that the EHIC leads to an overuse of healthcare services. View Full-Text
Keywords: refugee health; electronic health insurance card; prevention and medical care of refugees; access to healthcare; refugees’ use of outpatient and inpatient medical care refugee health; electronic health insurance card; prevention and medical care of refugees; access to healthcare; refugees’ use of outpatient and inpatient medical care
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jäger, P.; Claassen, K.; Ott, N.; Brand, A. 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. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1178. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071178

AMA Style

Jäger P, Claassen K, Ott N, Brand A. 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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(7):1178. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071178

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jäger, Pia, Kevin Claassen, Notburga Ott, and Angela Brand. 2019. "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" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 7: 1178. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071178

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