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No entitlement to a paper replacement for electronic health cards

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Statutory health insurance cannot ask their health insurance company to provide proof of their insurance on paper as an alternative to the electronic health card. That emerges from a judgment of the Federal Social Court on Wednesday. The Kassel judges have decided in two proceedings from North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate.

According to the Federal Social Court, the statutory regulations on the electronic health card (eGK) are in line with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and do not violate the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights. (Ref. B 1 KR 7/20 R and B 1 KR 15/20 R)

In order to be able to use health insurance benefits, insured persons must prove their eligibility with the health card. Insured person data such as name, address, insured person status and number are stored on the chip. The two plaintiffs had raised concerns about data protection and saw their right to informational self-determination violated. The data stored on the chip card and the centralized data processing behind it are not secure.

The plaintiffs had also lost in the lower courts. The respective regional social courts had made it too easy for themselves by dismissing the arguments as “mere presumption and speculation”, criticized the lawyer of both plaintiffs. As a citizen, you do not find out anything about violations and if so, then it is too late.

“There can be no absolute data security”, the Federal Social Court now holds. The GDPR provides for a “risk-based approach”; Measures must be weighed against the probability of occurrence and the severity of the risks. The encroachment on fundamental rights through the electronic health card is also justified. The card prevents misuse of social benefits and is used for accounting. Both serve the financial stability of the coffers, which is an “extremely important common good”.


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