People with statutory health insurance receive an electronic medical data card (eGK) from their health insurance provider. They can use this card to access treatment provided by doctors, dentists and psychotherapists approved by their health insurance provider, as well as services in hospitals and other medical facilities. The insured person’s personal profile data is saved on the eGK. The card also offers other useful functions – for example, in the event of an emergency.
At a glance
- The electronic medical data card (eGK) allows those covered by statutory health insurance to avail of health insurance benefits.
- In addition to the personal profile data of the insured person, the card can also store emergency data, medication treatment plans and other information.
- Near field communication (NFC) enables contactless use of the eGK – for example, when logging in to the e-prescription app.
- The back of the card functions as a “European health insurance card” and facilitates medical treatment within the EU.
- Stringent requirements are placed on data protection and privacy for the medical data card.
What is the electronic medical data card (eGK)?
The medical data card provides “proof of cover” in credit card format. Patients use it as evidence of their membership of a health insurance fund. The card allows many medical services, such as visits to a doctor, to be paid for directly by the health insurance provider.
In addition to a photo, the following information is provided on the front of the medical data card:
- the identifier “medical data card”
- name of the insured person
- name of the health insurance provider
- identification number of the health insurance provider
- identification number of the insured person
- health insurance provider’s logo
Personal profile data that is required for administrative purposes is stored the medical data card chip.
- date of birth
- ID number of the insured person
- insured status (e.g., “insured family member”)
- start and duration of health insurance cover
Typically, the card is read prior to treatment during the person’s first appointment of the calendar quarter at a doctor’s practice or other medical facility. When this is done, the profile data is synchronized with the insurance provider’s data either online or via a secure connection.
The benefits of this data synchronization are as follows: health insurance providers don’t need to issue new cards if a person changes address, invalid cards are quickly identified, and lost or stolen cards are speedily reported.
Patients and medical practices also benefit from data that is always up-to-date – for example, it means that documents such as prescriptions and referrals can be completed correctly.
An electronic medical data card is valid for a maximum of five years. After this period, the health insurance provider issues a new card.
Why is there a photo on the electronic medical data card?
People aged 15 and older with health insurance receive a card with a photo. This does not include those who would experience some difficulty having their photo taken – for example, because they are confined to bed.
Together with details of the person’s gender, the photo is intended to prevent misuse of the card or a mix-up with another card.
Well cared for in the EU with the eGK
The back of the electronic medical data card (eGK) has an additional purpose, i.e. it serves as a European health insurance card. This allows card holders to receive medical treatment without having to deal with red tape in all countries within the European Union.
What additional functions does the electronic medical data card have?
The electronic medical data card (eGK) not only serves as proof of insurance and a way to store personal profile data. Other useful data can also be stored on the card if required:
- an emergency data record, containing details of underlying conditions or allergies to medication, for example
- a medication treatment plan
- details of where the person keeps important documents relating to an advance healthcare directive (living will) or lasting power of attorney and an organ donor card
These additional details can be provided on a voluntary basis. In other words, they are only stored on the card if the insured person has given consent.
If you want to store this information on your medical data card, contact your family doctor or dentist.
In the future, statutory health insurance funds will provide solutions to enable insured persons to manage this data independently.
You use a personal identification number (PIN) to access this data on your card. You receive this PIN from your health insurance provider.
Doctors or other healthcare professionals can only access the emergency data without entry of the insured person’s PIN in the event of a medical emergency.
How secure is my data?
Emergency data management and the electronic medication plan are voluntary medical uses for the medical data card. This means that they are only used when the insured person has given consent.
Storage of the personal profile data on the medical data card (eGK) is mandatory. This data can be seen by staff employed by medical facilities and health insurance providers. Entering a PIN is not necessary in this case.
All other information voluntarily stored on the card can only be seen using a “two-key” principle, whereby the insured person can grant access on request by entering their PIN but the doctor or emergency personnel require an electronic healthcare professional ID or institution card as a second “key” to unlock the data. Details of each access are also stored on the medical data card. The emergency data record can only be read without the card holder’s prior permission in the event of a medical emergency.
A special data transfer system known as the telematics infrastructure was set up to protect sensitive medical data. In this system, medical data can only be accessed by authorized service providers such as doctor’s practices, therapists or pharmacies for the purpose of providing medical care – it cannot be accessed by insurance providers, authorities or companies. The data is encrypted at all times and a signature prevents it from being modified.
- Bundesministerium für Gesundheit. Begriffe und Regelungen rund um die elektronische Gesundheitskarte. Aufgerufen am 25.02.2022.
- Bundesministerium für Gesundheit. Die elektronische Gesundheitskarte. Aufgerufen am 25.02.2022.
- gematik GmbH. Die elektronische Gesundheitskarte. Digitaler Türöffner für Versicherte. Aufgerufen am 25.02.2022.
- Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (KBV). KBV - Elektronische Gesundheitskarte (eGK). Aufgerufen am 25.02.2022.