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According to the GKV estimating group, the statutory health insurance companies do not expect a deficit for 2011
The statutory health insurance companies are expected to end the 2011 financial year without a deficit. Apparently, the legislative changes adopted in the course of the health care reform are beginning to have an effect. According to an evaluation by the GKV estimating group, which also includes the Association of Statutory Health Insurance (GKV), a minus can very probably be prevented this year. Independent health experts believe, however, that the financial situation of the health insurance companies will deteriorate again in the coming year.
Assessment group: positive result expected As part of the health care reform, the Federal Government has decided on numerous savings measures in the health care system. An evaluation presented by the GKV estimating group predicted a positive result for the current year. The main reason for this is probably the agreed increase in regular cash contributions from 14.6 to 15.5 percent. The health insurers repeatedly emphasize in their publications that, for example, an additional contribution could be prevented because the contribution rate was increased at the turn of the year. A total of 13 health insurers out of around 160 statutory health insurers have to charge an additional lump sum from their members despite the adjustment of the premium.
Further positive effects were achieved through savings in pharmaceuticals, clinics and doctors. Due to the good economy, employees achieve higher wages and therefore automatically pay higher contributions. The time of short-time work seems to be over for now. However, the advantages of private health insurance are likely to be a hindrance. Higher earners have been able to switch to private health insurance more easily since the beginning of the year. However, according to some health insurance companies, there has so far been no real wave of change.
Billion deficit was averted In the last year of 2010, the health fund was forecast to have a deficit of around 11 billion euros. At the end of the year, however, it became clear that the additional contributions collected by some health insurers and numerous savings measures carried out in advance were sufficient to generate additional revenue of around EUR 300 million even in 2010. The surplus is used to replenish the health fund's liquidity reserve in accordance with legal regulations. Among other things, this fund is used, for example, to replenish the funds of loss-making health insurers, to finance the planned social compensation and the additional contribution for the socially weak (social welfare, ALG II).
Health insurance companies will end 2011 without a deficit
According to the group of estimates, it has been possible for a long time to make good forecasts for the health fund's income. The health economists have revised the expected income upwards by 500 million to 181.6 billion euros. According to the GKV circle of estimates, the good economy will continue to generate additional income. Due to the economic crisis last year, it was not yet possible to assume this additional income. Allocations from the fund will remain stable at EUR 178.9 billion. According to the SHI, the allocations to the health insurance companies were somewhat lower than the estimated expenses at 170.3 billion euros. The actual expenditure calculated so far will decrease by 200 million euros. The additional contribution raised by 13 health insurers could generate an additional income of 750 million euros. Currently, of the estimated 51.4 million health insurance contributors, around 8.1 million have to pay additional contributions. However, this additional income was not included in the published forecast. The increase in income is then added again at the end of the year. The group of estimators regularly publishes advance calculations to measure profitability. Representatives of the GKV, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Insurance Office are members of the circle.
Additional contributions can be avoided The majority of the health insurers and the black-yellow coalition assume that no further health insurance will raise an additional contribution this year. The measures that have been decided so far are apparently sufficient not to place an additional burden on the insured. The health insurance companies fear the additional contributions, since many of those affected subsequently exercise their right to change. This, in turn, leads to a loss of membership, which the DAK, for example, had a massive impact on last year. However, the health insurers who benefited from the change were able to register significant gains.
Positive prospects for the next few years questionable It is questionable whether such good figures can be predicted for the next few years. Independent experts attest difficult years to statutory health insurance. As a result of demographic change, healthcare spending will continue to rise. Further massive savings and cuts are already emerging. For example, the German Trade Union Confederation used an analysis to report that the additional contributions will be levied across the board for all members of the health insurance fund over the next few years. The independent health expert Prof. Dr. Wassem from the University of Duisburg-Essen. According to him, the measures implemented could prevent a deficit. From 2012 onwards, however, the situation could worsen significantly. Then, at the latest, additional health insurance companies will have to collect additional contributions. The Federal Government also apparently assumes such a development. Since 2011, the health insurance companies have been able to determine the amount of the additional contributions themselves. (sb)
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