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Three statutory health insurance companies do not want to charge any additional contributions in 2011.
(16.08.2010) Three health insurance companies have announced in 2011 that they will not require any additional contributions from their insured. Competition between health insurers is increasing because health insurers that charge an additional contribution from their members are currently experiencing a sharp decline in membership. On the other hand, health insurance companies that do not charge any additional contributions benefit greatly from those who want to switch and have significant gains.
The two largest health insurance companies, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) and the Barmer GEK have jointly announced that they will not collect any additional premiums from their insured persons in 2011 either. "We can get by far into 2011 without an additional contribution," a spokeswoman for the Techniker Krankenkasse told the "Handelsblatt". The Barmer GEK boss Birgit Fischer also confirmed to the newspaper: "We are planning for 2011 without an additional contribution."
However, Fischer warned that an important prerequisite for this was that the upcoming health care reform did not thwart the plan and that some professions such as general practitioners or service providers (pharmacies) should be excluded from the austerity measures. With the health care reform, it is important that everyone is involved in the austerity measures. Fischer therefore asked the Federal Government to implement the planned limitation of doctors' fees for GP-centered care, even against the opposition of the GP. Because only the general practitioner contracts show no improvements in the services, a limitation of the extreme fee increases, on the other hand, could lead to savings measures.
The AOK Rheinland-Hamburg also assumes that it will not collect any additional contributions in 2011 either. By the middle of next year, this was not an issue anyway, as AOK chairman Wilfried Jacobs commented. But it is time for politicians to provide clear funding for the health insurers, Jacobs continued.
Health insurance companies that charge additional contributions lose significantly to members.
The example of the German Health Insurance Fund (DAK) shows how important it is for health insurance companies not to have to make any additional contributions. Since the introduction of an additional contribution, the DAK has lost over 300,000 insured. BKK Gesundheit also lost around 244,000 insured in the first half of 2010. This was also confirmed by the branch service "dfg". In contrast, the health insurance companies, which do not charge any additional fees, have grown strongly. The TK gained around 238,000 members. Other health insurance companies such as the AOK Bayern or the Barmer GEK also saw significant increases in members. In order to keep these, it is especially important for the health insurers not to make any additional contributions, as they would otherwise also be affected by the migrations of the insured.
Federal Minister of Health does not plan any further increases in health insurance contributions.
The competition created by the statutory health insurance company delighted the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP). He was confident that no further statutory health insurance companies will charge additional contributions. Insured persons should not be burdened further by raising the 2011 contribution rate. So Rösler said: "Insured persons should not be burdened additionally, for example not by higher co-payments and also not by additional contributions," the minister told Deutschlandfunk in Berlin. However, according to media reports, the access requirements for private health insurance for better earners are being relaxed, which could once again endanger him.
Rösler wants to implement austerity measures in the health care reform.
Rösler is committed to implementing the planned savings plans at the clinics, doctors and pharmacies in order to prevent the billion deficit in the healthcare system. A deficit of around 11 billion euros is expected in the health fund for 2011 alone. However, the measures should be sufficient to ensure that no additional costs arise for the insured. How the health system's financial position will develop in 2012 depends on further reforms. After the "small health care reform" was launched, Rösler wanted to "improve the health system as a whole" and to make health insurance companies "more competitive" and "more efficient". The minister did not present any concrete measures. However, it can be assumed that health insurance companies will have to put themselves more and more into the situation of how private companies act. For a number of primarily smaller health insurance companies, this will potentially mean financial loss in the future, because only health insurance companies that have reached a certain size will be able to assert themselves on the market. That is why more and more health insurance companies are merging. (sb, fp)
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