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Billion-dollar health fund also up in 2014
In the coming year, statutory health insurance will generate more than 200 billion euros, experts from the federal government predict. There is disagreement about the upcoming expenses. Health insurance companies are demanding more money.
Ministry of Health and health insurance companies disagree In the coming year, statutory health insurance can again expect a plus. Revenues are forecast by the so-called estimator for 2014 at 202.2 billion euros. However, the experts from the Federal Insurance Office (BVA) and the Ministry of Health (BMG) were unable to agree with the health insurance companies on a forecast for the level of expenditure. The BMG and BVA expect 199.6 billion euros, however, the umbrella organization for statutory health insurance (GKV) expects 201.1 billion euros. As the allocations to the individual health insurers are derived from the Health Fund 2014, the result of the group of estimators is so significant.
Billions in reserves Despite their billions in reserves, the health insurance funds had already asked for more money from the health fund in advance, namely around two billion more than the federal government and the Federal Insurance Office had actually estimated. This was justified with the expected future additional expenditure, for example because of the discontinued mandatory discount for medicines and hospitals. Otherwise there would be additional contributions from the costs of the insured.
Competition among health insurance companies The uniform contribution rate that has been required by all health insurance companies since the health fund was introduced four years ago is 15.5 percent of gross wages. The insured person pays 8.2 percent and the employer 7.3 percent. This income is bundled in the fund and issued to the health insurance companies according to certain criteria. Among other things, it is to be ensured that, for example, health insurance companies with many old patients receive more money than those with many young and healthy members. The competition between the cash registers should also work in this way. However, some insurers see it quite differently and only a few days ago the headline: “Barmer boss calls for abolition of standard contribution” made the rounds. In an interview, the CEO of the Barmer GEK health insurance company, Christoph Straub, asked the upcoming federal government to abolish the uniform health insurance contribution.
Change of health insurance fund for additional contributions The statutory health insurers can, if they have received funds beyond their own needs and have also built up sufficient reserves, pay out premiums to their members. In the opposite case, however, you can levy additional contributions, but only for the coming year. If the insured want to avoid such a contribution, they can change the fund. There is even an obligation for insurance companies to point out this possibility. As a result, health insurance companies that levied additional contributions lost masses of members in the past.
Political disagreement The individual parties have not only been arguing about their different ideas and models of health policy since the Bundestag election. The SPD wanted the citizens to opt for the "best fund", while the CDU wanted the uniform rate. Some already see private health insurance before going out. Together with the Greens and the Left, the SPD would favor citizens' insurance, which, among other things, should abolish the two-tier system of private and statutory health insurance. However, the CDU election winners have always rejected such citizen insurance. (ad)
Image: Thomas Siepmann / pixelio.de