Additional contribution: Health insurers lose insured persons

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Over 650,000 insured changed health insurance due to additional contributions

The introduction of additional contributions has caused some health insurances to suffer a substantial decline in membership. Over half a million policyholders exercised their special right of termination last year. Funds that do not charge any additional contributions experienced significant increases in membership.

Change of health insurance wanted by politicians The introduction of additional contributions has resulted in severe losses for health insurance companies. As a result, over one million statutory health insurers terminated their old health insurance and switched to new health insurance. If the additional contributions were still capped by the turn of the year, health insurance funds have been able to determine the amount of the additional lump sums themselves since the health reform came into force. So far, most SHI providers have managed to raise the regular contribution rate without an additional contribution. However, health economists are forecasting almost nationwide lump sums for the coming years, which will also be charged. The reason for the change will then no longer be the fact as such, but the amount of the additional contribution. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, this will promote competition in the health system. Health insurance companies that operate economically should benefit from the insured's willingness to change. The number of statutory health insurance companies will be minimized and numerous funds will have to go bankrupt in the sense of capital-oriented action. That too is in the interests of politics, which strives to minimize the cash register.

Special right of termination makes it possible to change health insurance companies If a health insurance company charges an additional contribution or if the existing additional contribution is increased, insured persons can exercise and change their special right of termination. The insured person is then bound to the contract for 18 months, unless the new health insurance company also charges a lump sum or increases the existing one. Around half a million people have exercised this right in the past year. The health insurance companies that benefit from the regular health insurance contribution have benefited from the temporary hikes. The Barmer GEK, the general local health insurance company AOK and the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) registered a particularly large number of new members. The main losers were the German employee health insurance and the KKH alliance. Both providers are again demanding an additional contribution of eight euros this year.

Harsh losses for the DAK and KKH alliance The DAK was hardest hit. Around 460,000 people turned their backs on the DAK and changed. Measured against the total number of members, this corresponds to a whopping seven percent. The number of insured persons has decreased from around 6.3 to 5.8 million since the beginning of the new year. The migration movements were strongest in the course of the initial introduction in spring last year. At the KKH alliance, around 190,000 citizens left the till. Here the loss share is nine percentage points. According to official information from the KKH alliance, there were 2.05 million insured members in early 2010. At the end of the year there were only around 1.86 million insured. In addition to the two largest health insurers, 11 other smaller health insurers are currently charging an additional contribution. A total of 650,000 insured changed their health insurance last year.

Large health insurance companies benefit The clear winner was the Barmer GEK, which had a membership increase of 100,000 new members. The Techniker Krankenkasse was even able to gain 340,000 members. This corresponds to an increase in profit of around 4.5 percent. The AOK with its regional subdivisions, the IKK Classic (plus 46,000) and the United IKK (plus 26,000) also recorded significant gains in terms of their membership numbers.

According to a spokesman for the health insurance companies, the special right of termination granted is actually responsible for this. Many insured see the additional contribution as a reason to leave their health insurance. Individual health services from the individual providers seem to be less argumentative. The introduction of additional contributions appears to have proven to be disadvantageous for the health insurers. Only when other health insurance companies can no longer exclude an additional contribution will there be another migration between the statutory health insurance companies. This is likely to be the case from 2012 or 2013 at the latest. From this point on, the agreed increases in contributions will no longer be sufficient. (sb)

Also read:
Health insurance companies do not expect a deficit for 2011
Replacement funds do not exclude additional contributions
The federal government ends the GKV solidarity principle
From 2011: higher health costs
DAK will continue to charge an additional contribution in 2011
Change health insurance or stay?
Consumer protection against additional SHI contributions

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