Unisex tariffs: Private health insurance is becoming more expensive for most insured
From 2013, so-called unisex tariffs are compulsory in Germany. With this new regulation, the tariffs of private health insurance for men in particular will experience significant price increases. In contrast, the private health insurance tariffs for women are hardly cheaper. Experts believe that slight price increases are also possible here. At the turn of the year, the tariffs of old customers will also experience inflation rates again, but the majority will "appear to be moderate".
Private health insurance is becoming significantly more expensive for many policyholders. According to the CEO of the industry giant Signal Iduna, Reinhold Schulte, who is also the chairman of the association of private health insurers (PKV), "In particular, the premiums for men will increase". According to Schulte towards the "Rheinische Post", this is mainly due to the new "unisex tariffs", to which the European Court of Justice has committed us. "In the future, men will have to" pay for the longer lifespan of women ".
Until the law was changed, the tariffs in the private health insurance were calculated differently. On the one hand, women generally go to the doctor more often, and on the other hand, they live in Germany on average five years longer. For this reason, women also had to pay higher wages than men. On the other hand, the European Court of Justice brought an action. The EU court saw it as proven that unequal treatment is taking place here. For this reason, the judges requested gender-neutral policies to be issued. These will start on December 21st. From this date, insurers can only sell unisex tariffs. Existing customers can keep their previous policies.
Up to 30 percent higher private health insurance contributions for men
Industry experts estimate that the difference in contributions is around 30 percent. Richard Klumpp, insurance expert from Hamburg, estimates that "men of this size have to expect a premium in the new tariffs". In some cases, “men could face even higher premiums,” says Klumpp.
But whoever thinks that women's tariffs are now significantly cheaper is wrong. In practice, policyholders will hardly save any costs. Because from 2013, most providers will lower the interest rate for the provision for old age from currently 3.5 percent to 2.75 percent, the expert knows. "The difference must then be paid by the insured." In addition, numerous insurers will expand their range of services. "So-called lure offers should be a thing of the past, the low tariffs are very damaging to the industry." For this reason, for example, psychotherapy is often included as an insurance benefit, as Schulte also explained. Because the former entry-level tariffs with very low premiums turned out to be real cost drivers for insured persons with price increases of up to 60 percent in some cases.
Tariff increases should be moderate for old customers
But there is also good news. Anyone who is already a member of a private health insurance company does not have to worry much. Tariff increases are expected again at the turn of the year, but according to insurers, these are said to be “moderate”. According to Schulte, this resulted in a survey of the companies. In the past year, insurance providers had drastically increased their tariffs, some of them. This caused little understanding and great displeasure. Many insurers now want to keep their tariffs stable at the beginning of the year. "Nevertheless, there will be tariffs that will be adjusted," reports Schulte.
What to do in the event of tariff increases?
But what should the insured do if they are nevertheless affected by increases in tariffs? The price increases often affect older people who have little money available anyway. A change of system to the statutory health insurance is not possible, this is forbidden by the legislature and would also be unfair to the insurance companies. However, those affected can choose a cheaper tariff within the insurance company, which includes fewer health services, but causes less running costs. Insurers often want to prevent tariff changes. However, you are legally obliged to agree to a change to a different tariff. The advantage is that the saved retirement provision can then be taken along. However, if you want to change providers entirely, you cannot take your provisions for old age with you and start over again. A spokesman for the consumer advice center emphasized: "An additional health check is permitted when changing tariffs within the insurance company". However, if the provider is changed, the provider can request an examination.
Another option is to increase the deductible. In this case, insured persons will have to pay a higher proportion of medical treatment to the doctor themselves, but they can reduce the current contribution payments. "But only young insured people should consider that," advises a spokesman for the consumer advice center. Those who are older are often more susceptible to illness and may then have to pay more for their health than before. Citizens should not be impressed by the deadline either. "Insurance companies love deadlines to put potential customers under pressure". If you plan to take out a private health insurance, you should continue to take the time to make a precise comparison. And best of all at an advice center that receives no commission for the sale of an insurance policy. (sb)
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Health insurance: What is changing 2016351a2cc0b08c03 /> Image: Barbara Eckholdt / pixelio.de