Health politicians: The health insurance companies burn money

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The health insurance companies continue to reject premiums for insured persons

The black and yellow coalition calls on the statutory health insurers to pay out the billions of surpluses to the insured. The health policy spokesman for the CDU, Jens Spahn, accuses the cash registers in an interview with the daily newspaper "Welt" that they would "burn the money". Rather, it makes sense to distribute premiums to the health insurance patients instead of investing the money in times of low interest rates with losses in value. However, the health insurance companies refuse to pay out on the argument that they "must make provisions for the coming years".

Dispute over a ten billion euro surplus
According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV), the health insurance funds currently have an additional cushion totaling 10 billion euros. However, this money is "needed to put up a thick cushion for the years to come", said the umbrella organization of health insurance companies. According to the legal requirements, the statutory health insurance companies have to invest surpluses in safe investments. The legislator specifically laid down a requirement for this in the Social Code. However, the average interest rate for public bonds in Germany is currently around 1.05 percent for so-called current yields. That is less than the inflation rate, says Spahn.

The European financial crisis points to uncertain times. For this reason, the financial cushion for the expected increases in spending must remain secured. The chairwoman of the umbrella organization of the GKV Doris Pfeiffer had declared that the cash register situation was "as good as it has been for a long time", but the health insurance companies expect massive increases in expenditure with less income due to the economic risks in the European region. According to Pfeiffer, this situation could already occur in the next two years. According to this, ten billion euros is not so much that “it can be thrown out the window”.

According to its own prognostic analyzes, the Federal Government assumes that the surpluses of the health insurance funds could amount to around seven billion euros in the current year 2012. According to this, the surpluses would add up to around 17 billion euros. Pfeiffer did not want to follow this forecast. But it is certain that today's financial assets will continue to rise. However, the financial resources have to be used for "long-term stability", according to the treasurer.

No profitable investment by health insurers The health insurers do not invest the money profitably, according to the criticism of the CDU health politician Spahn. With an interest rate of 1.05 percent and a current inflation rate of 1.9 percent, the health insurers are making losses. "The health insurance companies burn the surpluses," according to the politician. However, experts at the health insurance companies are stating: "The reserves will become even higher."

Doctors demand 23,000 euros more per year Meanwhile, the representatives of the statutory health insurance companies are demanding higher fees. This year, doctors want to receive a total of 3.5 billion euros more from health insurance companies for their work. Pfeiffer rejected this demand as "completely unrealistic". That is “23,000 euros more per doctor and year.” The doctors pretend “they are at the poverty line,” the GKV boss told the “Saarbrücker Zeitung”. The reality was that the doctor's fees had increased significantly more recently, than the salaries of the insured.

The top chairwoman described the plan of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians as “strange” to set up a web portal on which doctors can rate health insurance companies. The Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians had announced exactly this project. Doctors should rate health insurance companies with a view to bureaucratic overtime. According to Pfeiffer, the health insurance companies "have no problem with being rated by doctors, but what can that do for the patient if he knows that the insurance company is supposedly demanding too much paperwork from the doctor". It could also be that the doctor prescribes therapies that require special documentation. (sb)

Read on:
Dispute over high surpluses of the health insurance companies
Dispute over billions in surplus in the health fund
Billion surplus in the health fund

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