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.


MVP (Association for the Promotion of Medical and Health Care for Uninsured and Paperless People in Bremen)


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.

What is new in 2023?

Since September 2022, people without identity papers in Bremen have been receiving medical treatment in the regular health care system. The costs are covered by the city of Bremen, thus guaranteeing the human right to health care. The project is implemented by doctors from the MVP (Verein zur Förderung der medizinischen und gesundheitlichen Versorgung von nichtversicherten und papierlosen Menschen in Bremen - Association for the Promotion of Medical and Health Care for Uninsured and Paperless People in Bremen). Its funding is initially secured until the end of 2023.

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