Health insurance fund KKH-Allianz reimburses insured persons for the practice fee
The health insurance company KKH-Allianz has announced that it will be the first statutory health insurance company in Germany to reimburse the insured person for the practice fee. As announced by the board of directors, under certain conditions patients will receive a reimbursement of up to 40 euros per year from the coming year. However, the members of the health insurance fund would have to demonstrate that they are undertaking "health-conscious behavior".
As the first health insurer, the KKH alliance announced today in Hanover that the practice fee for the insured will be abolished indirectly. "The practice fee burdens unilaterally sick people and has no control effect. That is not fair, ”says CEO Ingo Kailuweit. "We don't want to make our insured wait until the legislature comes to this view and finally abolishes the fee."
According to the cash register, the practice fee had not served its actual purpose. The quarterly fees were introduced in the course of the health care reform in 2004 by the then federal government. The legislature originally assumed that the practice fees would help to "minimize unnecessary visits to the doctor". However, subsequent examinations determined that the number of doctor contacts could not be reduced. Since then, patients have had to pay EUR 10 per quarter for their first medical visit. Only insured persons under the age of 18 are excluded from this. The fees mean for the cash registers an additional source of income in the billions.
From the turn of the year, insured persons can receive a bonus payment of EUR 40 annually. However, the compensation payment is linked to four measures for health-promoting behavior. According to the health insurance statement, this should include, for example, “preventive medical check-ups or membership in a sports club”.
In addition, insured persons must submit the receipts for the practice fee to the home, specialist, psychotherapist or dentist at the KKH-Allianz. "The condition is that you submit your receipt of payment of the fee to us," said a spokesman. Not only existing customers should benefit from this, but also new members. The reimbursement also applies not only to paying members, but also to co-insured family members from the age of 18.
The practice fee is controversial within the black and yellow federal government. Because the FDP is targeting a weakening of the health insurance companies in favor of the private health insurers, the Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) recently demanded that the quarterly fees be completely abolished. The Union, on the other hand, is in favor of maintaining the practice fees in order to "keep the health system financially secure" in the future.
In July of this year, the Hanseatische Krankenkasse (HEK) announced that it would retroactively reimburse its insured for all dental practice fees. However, they must provide the fee receipts and a copy of the dentist bonus book. The HEK does not provide for reimbursement of specialist or general practitioner fees.
According to its own statements, the KKH-Allianz, as a single fund with around 1.8 million members, is the largest health insurance company in Germany. Experts estimate that the health insurance companies record around two billion euros a year in practice fees. Income that health insurance companies are reluctant to forego. (sb)
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