Get thoroughly informed about the IGeL services

Repeatedly, doctors offer their patients individual health services (IGeL). IGel stands for “Individuelle Gesundheitsleistungen”. The statutory health insurances do not pay for these, the patients must do that themselves. However, just because something can be done, does not mean it is the rational thing to do. A report from the Medical Service of the Central Association of Health Insurance Funds (MDS) shows this. MDS stands for “Medizinischen Dienst des Spitzenverbandes”. Ophthalmologists often offer to measure the intraocular pressure to detect glaucoma (also called ‘green star’ in German). Gynecologists like to recommend an ultrasound of the ovaries for cancer detection. “In both cases, the possible harm outweighs the benefits,” says a press release from the MDS. MDS experts are also critical of the PSA test for the early detection of prostate cancer. It is important to know that there are rules that apply to the sale of IGeL services. The patients “must be well informed and should not be pressured,” says Dr. Peter Pick, the managing director of the MDS. The evaluation of the IGeL services – for example, Covid-19 antibody tests – is based on scientific research and analyses, says the notice. Information on every single IGeL service, including the price range, can be checked in the IGeL monitor (igel-monitor.de). Under the heading “Tipps” there is advice on how insured individuals should behave and what they should look out for. The explanations are very detailed and require a good knowledge of the German language.

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Impressionen zum Leben in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie: Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL; Mostafa Elyasian, 01.09.2020

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