Health insurance companies: higher contributions are inevitable



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The health insurance companies run out of money

The statutory health insurance (GKV) is running out of money. The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) expects a billion deficit by the end of the year. The BMG said that only the additional contributions would have prevented the statutory health insurance from falling already.

As the Federal Ministry of Health reports, the financial situation of statutory health insurance in the first three quarters of 2010 worsened considerably compared to the previous year. Despite the upturn in the economy, health insurance companies were not able to generate a result that was comparable to that in 2009 - the surplus in the first three quarters fell by over a billion euros compared to the previous year. A deficit could only be avoided by the additional contributions collected, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.

Statutory health insurance has to settle the deficit from financial reserves. While statutory health insurance posted a surplus of 1.4 billion euros in the first three quarters of 2009, this is only 277 million euros in the current year. The Federal Ministry of Health announced that the income of the health insurance companies in the third quarter was 131.2 billion euros and the expenditure was 130.9 billion euros. A deficit in statutory health insurances could only be avoided through the income of around 463 million euros from the collection of additional contributions, which had been raised for the first time since the first and second quarters of 2010 by some health insurance companies, such as the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK) , said the Federal Ministry of Health.

However, the surplus still to be recorded of 277 million is also at risk in view of the whole of 2010, since experience has shown that expenditure in the fourth quarter is considerably higher than in the previous quarters. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, it can be assumed that numerous SHI will fall into the red at the end of the year. The foreseeable shortage of allocations from the health fund could not be compensated for by additional contributions and additional income, the Federal Ministry of Health said. "In this respect, deficits in health insurers in 2010 often have to be compensated for by remaining financial reserves," the ministry said. According to forecasts by the group of estimates, the expected deficit will be a good two billion euros, although the group of estimates had assumed a loss of 3.1 billion in the summer.

Health insurance expenditure increased by 3.9 percent
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, expenditure by the statutory health insurance funds rose again by 3.9 percent, but the cost increase tended to slow - because in the first half of 2010 the average increase in expenditure was still 4.2 percent. The total expenditure did not increase as steeply as at the beginning of the year, it said from the Federal Ministry of Health. The higher costs were offset by an increase in cash receipts of 2.7 percent, which was mainly due to a higher federal subsidy, according to the official opinion of the ministry. For the growth in expenditure of the statutory health insurance funds, the contract medical outpatient care with an increase in costs of 600 million euros (plus 3.7 percent) and the 1.8 billion euros (4.5 percent) to a total of 44.18 million euros increased in particular The area of ​​the 2,100 hospitals is decisive, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.

The cost of pharmaceuticals has also risen by almost a billion (4.2 percent). Pharmaceutical spending in the first three quarters of this year was € 24.32 billion, with € 23.42 billion due in the same period last year. The statutory health insurance funds, on the other hand, recorded slight declines in expenses for preventive and rehabilitation measures as well as for prevention and vaccination. To date, allocations totaling around € 127.7 billion have been paid out to the statutory health insurance funds from the health fund for the first three quarters of 2010, whereby the health fund's income from contributions and federal grants would have been € 128.5 billion, the Federal Ministry of Health said .

Estimator: Necessary additional contribution on average at "zero" In the current figures, the Federal Government sees its latest reform decisions for the health system (keyword: health care reform) confirmed. Without the "countermeasures" initiated, the SHI would have faced a deficit of up to nine billion euros in the coming year, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. The agreed “balanced package of measures consisting of revenue improvements and spending restrictions” would help to compensate for the impending deficit. Both the increase in the general contribution rate from 14.9 to 15.5 percent as of January 1, 2011, as provided for in the Financing Act, as well as the savings through the Medicinal Products Reorganization Act, the savings measures at hospitals, doctors and dentists and the zero round at the health insurance companies, contribute to this to put the statutory health insurance on a "more solid financial basis", according to the Federal Ministry of Health.

On the basis of the measures adopted in the health care reform, the group of estimates, which determines the financial requirements of the statutory health insurance system annually, expects the average additional contributions to be “zero” in 2011. However, this does not rule out the possibility that individual health insurance companies will still have to raise additional contributions, the group of estimates continues. Five statutory health insurers had already announced that they would require additional contributions from their insured in 2011. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the one-time federal subsidy of two billion euros to the health fund in 2011, which can be used for tax purposes, can flow entirely into the liquidity reserve and will thus be available "from 2012 for financing social compensation if additional contributions are collected," said the Federal Ministry of Health. (fp)

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Photo credits: Harry Hautumm / pixelio.de

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