It has been argued that asylum seekers (AS) consume more health care resources than the local Swiss population. In this study we compare the health care costs of a group of AS who attended an outpatient clinic (OPC) at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, between 2000 and 2003 with a control group of local patients attending the same OPC. Using data routinely collected by the hospital finance department, we measured the monthly health care costs of all the AS at the OPC. The mean costs of health care for the AS were lower than those of the local outpatients. These differences remain significant in multiple analyses controlling for sex and screening in the younger age groups, but not in the older age group. Our study did not confirm the assumption that AS consume more health care resources. Our results suggest that younger and middle aged AS may consume fewer health care resources than the general population.