Insurance change to private health insurance increased massively

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Tens of thousands switch from statutory to private health insurance

The health reform measures adopted by the black and yellow federal government to strengthen private health insurance (PKV) are beginning to bear fruit. As reported by the "Frankfurter Rundschau" (FR), private health insurance companies poached almost 40,000 members in the first quarter of 2011 - around 40 percent more than in the same period last year.

Private health insurance companies benefit considerably from the simplification of the change of insurance into private health insurance that has been in effect since the beginning of the year, which was decided last year as part of the health care reform. According to figures from the Federal Ministry of Health, 39,670 people have already switched to private health insurance from January to April this year. Compared to the 28,577 insurance changers from 2010, an increase of almost 40 percent. While private health insurance companies are happy about the increase in membership, the statutory health insurers are facing considerable loss of income. First and foremost, young, healthy, well-earning members, whose insurance income exceeded costs, switch to private health insurance.

Simplified insurance change since the beginning of the year Since the beginning of the year, insured persons can switch to private health insurance from a one-off annual income of at least 49,500 euros (compulsory insurance limit). To date, employees have had their income above the compulsory insurance limit over a period of three years. As part of the health care reform, however, the federal government from the CDU, CSU and FDP decided to simplify the change of insurance and thus intensify competition between the different insurance systems. Numerous insured persons are now apparently making use of the new exchange options. In the first three months of 2011, around 40 percent more people switched to private health insurance than in the same period last year.

Private health insurance for member influx pleased Stefan Reker, spokesman for the Association of Private Health Insurance, was pleased about the influx into private health insurance and emphasized to the "FR" that "it was good and correct", the "three-year waiting period ”To be abolished again, as there is now“ more freedom of choice for the insured ”. "We are pleased when many insured people use this freedom to opt for private health insurance," said Reker on behalf of the Association of Private Health Insurance. Most of the new customers benefited from the two largest private health insurers, Debeka and DKV. "We feel a clear revival in new business," said a spokesman for DKV in an interview with "FR". However, the DKV did not want to give exact figures. Debeka, on the other hand, explained that in the first three months of the year 14,000 new members could be won from the statutory health insurance. Debeka also reported a “noticeable revival” in business.

Wechselwelle causes financial losses for the GKV But what pleases the private health insurances comes at the expense of the already battered statutory health insurances. In view of the cost explosion in the healthcare system, many of the statutory insurers are already under considerable financial pressure, which they can only compensate for by collecting additional premiums. However, as the current case of the insolvent City BKK shows dramatically, the introduction of additional contributions can cause a wave of bills that exacerbate the financial problems of the insurance company. Another problem is that above all healthy, young, well-earning members of the statutory health insurance company turn their backs and take out private insurance. Because the insured who stay behind often cause more costs than the health insurance companies collect through their insurance premiums. On the other hand, for those who switch to private health insurance, the ratio is usually the other way round - they cost less than they pay. Thus, the statutory insurance companies incur additional costs ranging from 80 million euros (PKV estimate) to 500 million euros (GKV estimate) by simplifying the change of insurance, reports the "FR". The health economist Jürgen Wasem from the University of Duisburg-Essen emphasized to the newspaper: "We have a great deal of data uncertainty in this area", but personally he believes the estimates of the federal government at 250 million euros are realistic.

Critical assessment of insurance change in the direction of private health insurance From the point of view of the critics, the massive wave of change in the direction of private health insurance is also to be assessed negatively because private insurance companies only accept customers for whom they promise more income than expenditure. That means that young, healthy, high-earners are gladly taken. Old, chronically ill people with low incomes remain in the SHI. In the end, the simplified insurance change decided by the federal government favors a kind of negative selection in which the SHI is considerably weakened, as is the accusation of the opposition. In addition, it remains unclear to what extent the substantial commission payments for the intermediaries, which are paid by new health insurance contracts, had an impact on the number of insurance changes. It is quite conceivable that the number of insurance changes, due to the reduction in commissions already planned by the legislator, will be significantly lower in the future. Because so far not only are many customers interested in switching to private health insurance, but insurance brokers are extremely motivated to initiate as many new contracts as possible given the waving commissions of up to 18 monthly premiums. (fp)

Also read:
The health care reform comes into force
PKV sales methods are dubious in places
PKV: No contracts during pregnancy?
Separation of PKV and GKV a phase-out model?
Consumer advocates warn of low tariffs for private health insurance
Beware of PKV lock offers
Basic PKV tariff: Doctors refuse treatment
From 2011: higher health costs
Thousands switch to private health insurance
PKV and children: Change should be well considered

Image: Gerd Altmann / Gerold Meiners /

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