GBK Cologne needs 18 million for debt relief

The GBK statutory health insurance company in Cologne, which is in financial need, requires 18 million euros to merge. The health insurance company "mhplus" signals an interest in the merger. A final decision should be made by Friday.

As already reported, the two company health insurance companies GBK based in Cologne and the City BKK are in financial difficulties. Both health insurance funds are at risk of bankruptcy. The heads of the company health insurers BKK decided last Friday to help both ailing health insurers. A merger partner is to be found for the ailing GBK. The City BKK is going through a debt relief program.

The GBK has just 30,000 members. On such a scale, it is becoming increasingly difficult to assert oneself on the till market and to react to economic bottlenecks. Although the GBK was one of the first health insurance companies to demand an additional contribution from its insured persons, two seriously ill members put it in dire straits. A total of 18 million euros in debt has recently accumulated. A sum that is difficult for the GBK to pay itself. For this reason, a suitable merger partner should be found for the till. Because a closure would probably have caused millions more.

Mhplus is currently considered a possible partner for a merger. According to its own statements, the mhplus health insurance company is ready to consider a restructuring merger with the joint company health insurance fund of the city of Cologne at short notice. "In order to mitigate the financial consequences of a merger and thus the reorganization of the GBK, however, financial compensation payments from the company health insurance companies (BKK) in Germany are required," as the health insurance company said today.

By the end of this week, the top representatives of the BKK now want to vote on whether the proposed merger will be approved and whether there will be a previous exemption from the millions. According to its own statements, mhplus is willing to consider a restructuring merger with the GBK if the company health insurance companies in Germany jointly pay for the consequences of the restructuring and merger. The financial support of the BKK network is required for a merger.

Closing the GBK could result in significantly higher costs for the BKK network. The cost of a closure is currently estimated at around EUR 22.3 million. It is still open whether the company health insurance funds agree to a merger with mhplus. According to mhplus, there is no common stance among the BKK in Germany.

For the GBK, the Federal Insurance Office (BVA) has already initiated a hearing procedure, which could result in the closure if there was no merger partner for the fund. Health economists put the cost of a merger at around 18 million euros.

In spite of its regional roots, the mhplus seems to be much better positioned economically. In contrast to GBK, an additional contribution will not be levied at mhplus from 2011. The GBK charges a maximum additional contribution of EUR 37.50 / one percent of gross wages. 540,000 people are insured with mhplus. If both health insurance companies merged, a total of 570,000 people would be insured in the merged health insurance company. (sb)

Also read:
Rescue the stricken health insurance companies
Bankruptcy averted by health insurance companies
City BKK & GBK health insurers threatened with bankruptcy
City-BKK saved from bankruptcy?
Is the City-BKK health insurance bankrupt?
Two health insurance companies are broke

Image: Benjamin Klack /

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