Health insurance companies block insurance bills

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Statutory health insurance companies block switching to private health insurance

Several statutory health insurance companies (GKV) make it difficult for their customers to switch to private health insurance (PKV). Some people who want to change should stay in their old insurance for up to three years.

The statutory health insurances seem to go too far in the context of the health care reform, since the beginning of the year, when it comes to changing insurance. According to the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", six statutory health insurers refuse to switch immediately to members who have taken out an additional electoral tariff. Those affected should remain in their old insurance for up to three years. The Bundesversicherungsamt (BVA) is of the opinion, however, that a minimum commitment period is not permitted for the electoral tariffs and that nothing stands in the way of a change from the legal side.

Health insurers insist on contractual deadlines After the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) had significantly strengthened the competitiveness of private health insurance, among other things through a simplified switch between the insurance systems, the first statutory health insurance companies are now apparently revolting against this course. The Verband der Ersatzkassen (VDEK), which includes the Barmer GEK and the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), informed the Süddeutsche Zeitung that "the binding period for optional tariffs (...) must have expired" before the insured can switch. For example, anyone who has taken out an additional optional tariff for reimbursement of contributions or deductibles would have to stay in their current health insurance for up to three years.

Numerous complaints to the Federal Insurance Office At the Federal Insurance Office (BVA) in the past few months, a large number of submissions, inquiries and complaints regarding the blockade of insurance companies in the event of a desired change had arisen. The BVA represents a fundamentally different position here than the VDEK and they have no reasons that prevent an immediate change of the insured. In addition, the switch to a private provider is also not a termination, since the insured as soon as their income exceeds 49,500 euros per year are only voluntarily insured in the SHI. According to the BVA, those wishing to change only have to declare their departure.

Compulsory waiting times when changing insurance are unsatisfactory for customers. Nevertheless, the replacement health insurance companies refuse to make immediate changes to their members with an optional tariff, which can have considerable disadvantages for those affected. Because if the persons willing to change get sick during the imposed waiting period, they could fall through the health check that every customer has to go through before being admitted to the PKV. It would therefore be possible that those wishing to change will no longer be included in the private health insurance due to their state of health or that they would have to pay substantial risk premiums. The change periods imposed are therefore an imposition for the insured. On the other hand, everyone knows the common contract terms from everyday life, for example when concluding a telephone contract. In some cases, changeover periods are simply inevitable, so that the spontaneous change of provider does not cause too much damage for the individual companies.

Healthcare reform does not do justice to the problem Only few of the decision-makers thought about this when it came to decisions on health care reform last year. The fact that the statutory health insurers also need a little planning security and that the benefits for customers are justified only by the longer contract, especially with the optional tariffs, are not adequately taken into account in the legal requirements to simplify the change of insurance. (fp)

Also read:
Change to private health insurance from 2011
Statutory or private health insurance?
Private health insurance: that is changing
PKV and children: Change should be well considered

Image: Margot Kessler /

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