How does it operate?
In October 2018, a so-called “clearing house” took on the task of offering healthcare assistance to anyone, regardless of their residence status. This not only included refugees and migrants, but anyone without health insurance. It is run by the Berlin City Mission and financed by the city’s governing Senate with a budget of around 1.5 million euros per year. Those seeking help are referred to different clinics and medical practices that have agreed to cooperate with the clearing house.
What is new in 2023?
In total, more than 2,000 cost coverage certificates were issued from October 2018 to October 2022. For this purpose, the office cooperates with 50 Berlin general medical practices and six hospitals. However, the facility, which is currently funded with 2.6 million euros annually by the Senate Health Administration, had to temporarily suspend the assumption of costs for medical treatments in summer 2022 because the budget was exhausted after only half a year. Subsequently, the Berlin Senate provided another 670,000 euros.
Through the social counselling provided by the clearing centre, 10% of the clients seeking advice have so far been placed in regular health insurance. In addition, the City Mission offers training for the Berlin health offices, in which they sensitise the case workers specifically to the issue of people who do not have health insurance.