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PKV rejects the proposal to open the GKV to the market
Criticism of private health insurance is growing. Rarely have there been so many voices from different directions that have raged against the private system. In addition to numerous politicians in the Union, who were formerly proponents of the system, an increasing number of industry experts are also complaining about the unequal system of health care.
The formerly strong front of supporters of private health insurance (PKV) is increasingly disappearing. More and more politicians from the ranks of the government coalition are criticizing the private coffers. Only the FDP is still at the side of private insurance companies.
The discussion is just right for the statutory health insurance companies. Several board members are demanding that private and statutory health insurance be united under one roof. These should then compete against each other at “the same conditions” if possible. For example, the CEO of Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) proposed that the PKV and the health insurance companies be merged in the course of a conversion into public limited companies. The Association of Private Health Insurers (PKV) naturally does not believe in such proposals. Its chairman Volker Leienbach complained that such proposals would not solve the current problems. In addition, a conversion of the statutory health insurance companies into private corporations is not legally possible without further ado.
Tariff increases in the private insurance system
Meanwhile, more and more privately insured people are complaining about rising tariffs. Especially in old age, the costs would take on a dimension that is hardly affordable. Therefore Gerd Billen, head of the Federal Association of Consumer Centers, rejoiced that the PKV would "probably abolish itself" in a few years. An increasing number of insured people did not understand that tariffs sometimes rose by 60 percent. In the course of this, Billen asked the Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) to make the PKV “consumer-friendly” by reforming the structures. As part of a study, the consumer centers evaluated complaints from customers that were received due to increases in premiums. However, the PKV association rejected the study as "highly unreliable". The study is in no way representative, according to the PKV association. The vast majority of private patients are satisfied with the range of services and the tariffs.
Same premium adjustments in both systems?
The contribution increases of the private health insurance are roughly comparable to those of the statutory health insurers. Although there were substantial premium adjustments of 60 percent in some cases, these mostly took place in connection with the low-priced lure offers. Former entry-level tariffs, which were offered at an entry-level price of less than 100 euros, sometimes cost double or triple after a few years and after the tariff is closed. In an approximate comparison, the tariff increases were a good two percent. Every second private health insurance tariff (45 percent) has not been increased at all in the past two years. According to the industry watcher Morgen & Morgen, the increases in private health insurance were only slightly higher than in statutory health insurance. PKV contributions have increased by an average of 3.3 percent over the past 15 years. In the legal, the rate of increase was about 3.1 percent.
Citizen insurance with supplementary insurance
The SPD, Greens, Leftists and trade unions have been promoting solidary citizens' insurance for a long time. There would be no differences with this system and all Germans would have to take out insurance at a health insurance fund. Because the FDP is currently very poor in the poll values, a change of government could take place in the next election. Therefore, many private providers are already preparing for this and are expanding the "supplementary insurance" area. Barmia Health Insurance, however, is calm about the 2003 federal election. She expects the PKV system to continue to exist afterwards. (sb)
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Image: Gerd Altmann / Gerold Meiners / pixelio.de