Moving Cities
Inspiring Approaches

BremenHealthcare for all

What is inspiring?

In 2005, Bremen introduced a “health card” for all refugees. This allows refugees to receive regular medical care and is a pioneering achievement in destigmatising health care for refugees within the framework of standard healthcare in Germany.

How does it operate?

The card does not look any different from the card used by people with regular state health insurance. To this end, the Bremen social security office signed a contract with a statutory health insurance company (AOK). This allowed refugees to receive medical care within the regular system, whereas in other federal states they are often treated by “camp doctors” in a separate system.

What is the outcome?

This is a major improvement for refugees who have applied for asylum, as well as for undocumented migrants. Since the “asylum compromise” of 1993, asylum seekers have only been entitled to limited health care. Undocumented migrants are generally not even entitled to this. Whilst the Bremen model is still far from perfect in its restrictions on the services on offer, e.g. treatments for chronic illnesses or IVF treatment, it still marks significant progress.

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