DAK Gesundheit after merger without additional contribution

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After the merger in April 2012, the new DAK Gesundheit wants to abolish the additional contribution

The German employee health insurance company DAK merges with the company health insurance fund BKK Gesundheit and forms a joint health insurance fund with the title DAK Gesundheit from the beginning of 2012. Shortly after the merger, both health insurance companies want to abolish the additional contribution they had previously made.

The upcoming merger is good news for millions of statutory health insurers from both health insurers. According to information from "Heilpraxisnet.de", the newly formed DAK Gesundheit will abolish the additional contribution of eight euros per month from the second quarter of 2012. The over six million members are spared additional health costs of EUR 96 per insured person each year.

Jochen Steigermann, insured at the DAK can hardly believe it. For a good two years now, the employee has had to spend an additional eight euros per month on his health insurance. "I had already thought of a change, but always postponed the time". At the turn of the year, the family man wanted to look around for a till. This now saves him from having to abolish the additional contribution after the announcement.

Efficient and lean structure
But what has happened? Health economists on all sides claim that the expenditure of the statutory health insurance companies always requires new and higher contributions. It is all the more astonishing that two health insurance companies are now announcing the abolition of the unpopular additional contributions, even though both health insurers have been considered financially strained in recent years. After all, the additional contributions had to be introduced due to the desperate financial situation because the allocations from the health fund were no longer sufficient. So what happened? “The abolition of the additional contribution is possible because the merger brings economic benefits. The two health insurers bundle their contract management and their supply offers, ”explained Herbert Rebscher, CEO of DAK. Last year, the DAK created a "more efficient and lean structure". "This reorganization process is also a reason for being able to abolish the additional contribution in the new year."

New measures to streamline the structure were also sorely needed. With the introduction of additional contributions almost two years ago, the DAK lost over 500,000 members. They all exercised their special right of termination and changed providers. This put the cash register in dire straits again, above all because many high-income earners and young people turned their backs on the cash register. What remained was an above-average number of chronically ill and older health insurance patients, who often produce more expenditure than income.

Good development on the labor market generated additional income For example, the DAK and BKK Gesundheit had to streamline their structure in order to remain competitive. In addition, the financial situation of the 150 statutory health insurance companies was better than many experts thought in the current year. Taken together, all health insurance funds generated a billion dollar surplus in the first half of the year. The reason for this was the legislative health reforms. The austerity package and the increase in premiums at the beginning of the year had initial effects. On the other hand, the extremely positive economic development on the labor market caused additional income. Because the more insured people are in wages and bread, the higher the income of the equally financed contributions. According to the DAK, it was able to generate a surplus of around 300 million euros. In-house, the board says, you are now "leaner".

Additional contributions hardly generated additional income. In contrast, the hoped-for additional income did not come from additional contributions. The contributions do not bring any new members because hardly anyone changes to a health insurance company that costs more than others on the same terms. The image therefore suffers greatly, especially since the press also repeatedly points out this fact. Numerous smaller health insurers have announced in the course of the year that they will abolish the additional contribution. Other health insurance companies, such as the AOK, emphasize in terms of public awareness “guaranteed not to want to introduce an additional contribution by 2013”. What is there left for the newly established DAK Gesundheit to do away with the additional contributions?

Mini amounts brought little benefit. Even the hoped-for additional income could not guarantee the mini amounts. Around 5 million people will probably pay an additional contribution to DAK Gesundheit at the beginning of the year. The number of members is 6.6 million if unemployed spouses or children who are also insured are included. Accordingly, if five million contributors have to pay eight euros per month, half a billion euros are raised each year. That sounds like a lot, but the annual budget of the merged DAK Gesundheit amounts to an estimated 19 billion euros. According to this, 97 percent of the expenditure is financed from the allocations of the health fund. If the allocations only increase by 2.5 percent, DAK Gesundheit will earn as much money as for the additional contributions. Therefore, the board of the still existing BKK Gesundheit says: "For the customers of BKK-Gesundheit, this is also good news," said Thomas Bodmer, board member of BKK-Gesundheit. "The planned merger will create a new, strong and economically sound health insurance fund."

Additional contributions from health insurance companies will increase in the future Does the withdrawal of additional contributions mean that they were just an entertaining history of health insurance companies? Not at all, because the black and yellow federal government plans to gradually reduce equal funding for health. In the future, the health insurance companies should increasingly rely on additional contributions for additional expenditure. In a few years, progressive institutes not only calculate that the question will no longer be whether a health insurance fund will make an additional income-independent contribution, but how high it will ultimately be. Due to the demographic change and the steadily increasing expenditure in the health care system, the expenditure of the health insurers is also increasing. The 2011 surplus in the health fund will not be passed on to the insured, as the Federal Ministry of Health recently announced, but will instead be used as a liquidity reserve for the future. In addition, politicians want to use the reserves for social compensation to finance low-income households to compensate for additional contributions.

The decision of the newly constituting DAK Gesundheit is therefore correct to initially forego the lump sums. Any further detention would have meant further financial problems due to member migration in the medium term. However, the first economic analyzes already point to a sharp slowdown in the economy. Then DAK Gesundheit will certainly not be the only health insurer to introduce an additional contribution. (sb)

Read on:
No increase in health insurance amounts in 2012
Difficult merger of DAK and BKK Gesundheit
DAK & BKK Gesundheit becomes DAK Gesundheit
DAK is also demanding an additional contribution in 2011
DAK: Job cuts through additional contributions

Image: DAK Service

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