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Does facilitated and early access to the healthcare system improve refugees health outcomes?

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Abstract

"Because of their often-dramatic, life-threatening flight patterns and resulting pronounced health disparities, many refugees have a great need for medical treatment after arrival to their host countries. In Germany, refugees whose asylum application is not approved or whose duration of stay has not yet exceeded 15 months must request doctor visits, with a considerable amount of bureaucracy, from the local responsible authority. Since 2016, however, several federal states and municipalities in Germany have introduced electronic health cards (eHCs) which give refugees immediate and unbureaucratic access to the healthcare system. We examine whether being eligible for eHCs because of this policy change had an effect on multidimensional health indicators for refugees in Germany. For empirical identification, we take advantage of variation in policy adoption across German regions and over time. Relying on the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees, we find that being eligible for eHCs because of the policy change improved the mental well-being and subjective health assessment of recently arrived refugees, while having no impact on physical health status. These results can be traced back to the moderating effect of facilitated healthcare access on post-migration stress, which is known to affect primarily psychological well-being. Moreover, facilitated healthcare access appears to alleviate potential language and cultural barriers faced by refugees with low health literacy (measured by the ability to read or write in the origin-country language). Altogether, the article illustrates how structural and institutional constraints may shape individual health outcomes of adult refugees." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku, Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons) ((en))

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Bibliografische Daten

Jaschke, Philipp; Kosyakova, Yuliya (2020): Does facilitated and early access to the healthcare system improve refugees health outcomes? * Evidence from a natural experiment in Germany. In: International Migration Review, online first, S. 1-31.
 

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