19 health insurance companies pay premiums to insured persons

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Millions of people with statutory health insurance receive bonuses

Numerous statutory health insurance companies want to pay their insureds a premium of up to 120 euros in the current year, given the currently favorable financial situation. According to a survey by the news magazine "Focus", 19 statutory health insurance companies (GKV) are planning to pay out a premium of 30 to 120 euros this year. At the end of last year, new health insurance companies had already decided to take this step. A decision that should not have been particularly difficult for the health insurance companies, especially since the surplus in the health insurance funds and in the health fund was estimated at around 30 billion euros at the end of 2012.

Already in May last year, the Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) and the Federal Insurance Office (BVA) discussed the possible use of the surpluses in the statutory health insurance for a premium payment to the insured. In the autumn, in addition to the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), several other health insurance companies finally decided to pay out a corresponding premium. In the current year, the number of insurance companies that make a premium payment to its members is expected to increase to nineteen, according to the "Focus" survey. Millions of insured could therefore benefit from the distributions. In addition to the TK with around six million members, many smaller company health insurance funds are in particular prepared to reimburse the premium.

Payment of premiums, structural reforms or improvements in the range of services? The discussion about a premium payment to the insured divided the health insurance companies into two camps. While some willingly pay a premium of up to 120 euros to their members in view of the existing surpluses, others want to use the money instead to improve the range of services and for structural reforms. For example, the chairman of the AOK Federal Association, Jürgen Graalmann, had spoken out against the Federal Minister of Health's request to pay the premium and advertised that the surpluses should be used for "structural reforms of statutory health insurance." 2012 concluded that the health fund had reserves of just under twelve billion euros at the end of 2012 and 15 billion euros were available as financial reserves from health insurers. The surpluses have, however, sparked desire elsewhere. For example, the budget draft by the Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) in 2013 already provided for a reduction in the allocations to the health fund, and in 2014 Schäuble wants to reduce this again by two billion euros.

Federal Minister of Finance wants to cut funds in the health fund The Federal Minister of Health sees his demands confirmed by the increased willingness of health insurance companies to pay premiums to the insured. However, his ministry is not particularly pleased with the Federal Minister of Finance's proposals to further reduce the allocation to the health fund. Here, other departments are now asked to also make their savings contribution for a balanced federal budget, according to the criticism from the Ministry of Health. The reduction in the allocations in the 2013 budget did not lead to a drop in the surpluses of the health insurance companies, as confirmed by the current willingness to pay premiums. However, this was sold by the Federal Minister of Finance as a one-time cut. Now the “one-off” cut is repeated, which raises the question not only on the part of the opposition, why the surpluses are not used for a general reduction in the contribution rates, which would relieve all those insured under the law. The Federal Minister of Health is celebrating the surpluses instead of lowering the contributions for all insured, criticized the SPD health politician Bärbel Bas.

Unnecessary burden on the insured? SPD member of the Bundestag Elke Furthermore said regarding the new reduction proposal by Wolfgang Schäuble that the finance minister is not afraid to "reach into the pockets of the legally insured to be able to present a balanced budget." But in the end every euro must go to the health fund is missing, about contributions from the legally insured. The SPD politician calculated that "with just over 50 million SHI members, each billion cut by Schäuble represents an additional burden of around EUR 20 per year for each SHI member." Two billion EUR cuts mean around EUR 40 additional burden of the insured per year, said Ferner. (fp)

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Image: Claudia Hautumm / pixelio.de

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