Health insurers are approving fewer and fewer treatments

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Spas President: Health insurers are giving fewer and fewer health care cures

The German Spas Association criticizes the austerity measures in the healthcare system. Health insurers are taking on fewer and fewer preventive health care programs. On the contrary: In the association's view, the health insurers would withhold such cures from the insured and would increasingly look for reasons to avoid having to finance pension benefits.

The President of the German Association of Spas, Gerd Müller, accuses the current health insurance companies of not providing enough health and preventive benefits. Health insurers are less and less paying for preventive cures and preventive therapies. Many health insurance companies would now do everything "to withhold these benefits from their insured," criticized the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection on Sunday during a visit to Bad Füssing in Lower Bavaria. The health insurance companies have even started to withhold the catalogs for health trips with health insurance subsidies from their members, although they are available to almost every health insurance fund. The insured would have reported that the spa offers were deliberately withheld and only handed out under massive pressure. In addition, it is constitutionally at least questionable if some health insurers want to withhold subsidies from older patients from the turn of 2011, simply because the measures chosen are too far from where they live.

90 percent fewer cures According to the Deuten spa association, the number of outpatient cures has dropped dramatically. The number of approved treatments has dropped by a whopping 90 percent between 1996 and 2009. Instead of 880,000, only 94,000 cures per year are approved by the health insurance companies. According to the spa association, however, numerous studies would prove "that every euro invested in prevention saves the health care system three euros in long-term expenditure on subsequent disease treatment," argued Müller.

Prevention saves costs for illnesses For medical therapies, the health insurance companies spend around 240 billion euros each year, i.e. 3000 euros per year for every health insurance patient. For preventive measures - that is, for treatments that reduce the risk of illness - the health insurers would only spend 5 euros per patient per year. For this reason, Müller asked the insured to exercise their right to request health care benefits from their health insurance. (sb)

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