PKV should take inflation into account when retiring old age


Private health insurers should consider medical inflation when retiring in the future. This could be achieved if all insured persons paid the same surcharges, according to the vision of the HUK-Coburg CEO.

(20.11.2010)
At a specialist meeting, the HUK-Coburg CEO urged the private health insurance industry to pay more attention to "medical inflation" and the associated cost increases in the future. The private health insurance company must make far-reaching changes so that the higher costs are also reflected in the retirement provisions.

In the future, private health insurance companies would have to pay more attention to medical inflation and the associated higher treatment costs. Inflation should not only be felt in insurance premiums, but also in provisions for old age. "The PKV has the problem that the aging provisions are calculated on the basis of the health expenditure that we know today", argued the HUK-Coburg CEO Dr. Hans Olav Herøy at a conference of the Association of Business Economists for Insurance in Cologne. Medical inflation is not taken into account, however, Herøy added. Accordingly, it is important to consider the adjustments to the premiums not only for the higher expenditure, but also for the under-provision for old age.

“Medical inflation” means the aspect that expenditure on health services is continuously increasing because new treatments are being developed and new medicines are coming onto the market, the costs of which are also increasing. The contributions must be increased through the further development of medical care. However, this automatically creates a financial discrepancy between contributions and pension provisions. This in turn means that the premium increases are even larger.

Such a conversion of the private health insurance system initially causes higher contributions. In the long term, however, this could reduce the financial burden in old age, according to Heroy's vision. At the moment, the insured would face a whole series of premium increases due to higher expenses and lower interest rates. On the other hand, some private health insurance providers try to attract freelancers and the self-employed as new customers with very low entry-level tariffs. However, the method of winning new customers harms the entire industry. Again and again, the providers hope for the extensive support of the black and yellow coalition, which in turn has already simplified the access requirements for employees so that the private health insurance can win more new customers.

The result is that old customers have to pay far higher insurance premiums than new customers. This also applies if the new customer has the same entry age as the existing customer. "The existing customer has no guarantee that the existing contribution will not be higher than the new business contribution," explained Herøy.

However, it is by no means the case that the PKV has been watching this development inactive. According to the HUK-Coburg boss, the PKV has done a lot recently to minimize inequality. He mentioned three main measures that have been implemented so far. So the contribution was adjusted by ten percent. The provisions for old age were secured with the formation of interest gains and the capping of premium increases with provision funds. So far, the PKV has almost solved the problem. But these methods alone are not enough to secure the future. A current example of this is currently low interest rates on the markets. Due to the economic crisis, interest rate developments are currently subject to strong fluctuations. "We should take the last little step," Herøy told his colleagues.

The private health insurers should take into account how large the gap in the provision for old age is, each time the membership fees are adjusted. Only then should providers offer a sensible surcharge from everyone, including new customers. This proposal would revolutionize the private health insurance system and involves some kind of justice. Because younger people would have to pay the same surcharge as older customers. However, the younger ones also pay the surcharge longer than the old ones. "The alternative would be to let the older customers pay the gap alone." However, this always leads to resentment among existing customers, because the ever increasing contributions for older customers also disturb the reputation of the industry.

The new proposed model leads to further increases in contributions, but would not increase contributions overall. In the case of full insurance for an old customer, the necessary premium increase would be in the "low single-digit percentage range". Depending on the type of tariff, the adjustments are between zero and three percent.

It is important, however, that all private health insurance companies move together. In addition, for advertising reasons it would not be bad to say: "You will never have to pay more than someone who enters the age of private health as you," explained Heroy. The industry should decide together on the proposed model. (Sb)

Also read:
PKV premium increases of up to eight percent?
PKV association sees no losses
PKV and children: Change should be well considered

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