Additional contributions due to higher doctor's fees?
(sb, 06.10.2010) The Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler denied reports that the insured would have to prepare for further additional contributions for the coming year 2011 due to the high increases in medical fees. Medical associations had negotiated fee increases of around one billion euros for 2011 on Wednesday.
Yesterday, the Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and the umbrella organization for statutory health insurance negotiated a record fee of a whopping 33 billion euros for the 150,000 physicians in private practice in Germany. According to the health insurance association, doctors' fees will increase by around one billion euros compared to 2010. According to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, this sum is too high, here the additional expenditure is estimated at a maximum of 675 million euros.
The planned increase in medical fees will not result in health insurance companies having to raise additional contributions, Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) told Deutschlandradio Kultur. There will be no deficit in the health fund funds because the health insurance companies will raise an increased contribution rate of 15.5 percent from January 1st. This compensates for the deficit of around 11 billion euros, the minister said. The health insurance companies would therefore not be forced to "take an additional contribution". On the other hand, Rösler asked the medical profession to also make a savings contribution. 3.5 billion euros of the total of nine billion euros to be saved "would have to be provided by them," said the Minister of Health.
According to the chairman of the medical association, Andreas Köhler, the health insurance companies for the coming year have already included the higher medical fees to be expected. He therefore assumes that the statutory health insurance companies would not make any additional contributions due to the increased fees. "Yesterday we created a growth situation that amounts to 675 million euros and not to a billion", KBV boss Andreas Köhler told the station n-tv. The increase in fees was slowed down, said Köhler.
However, the association of health insurance companies complains that the additional expenses of around one billion euros are borne by the insured. Because the health insurance contributions would not have to increase so much if savings are made elsewhere. Originally, the Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance wanted to ensure that doctors experience a zero round in the coming year.
The "Hartmannbund" medical association, on the other hand, accuses the health insurance companies of setting the mood. The health insurance companies would conduct so-called "propaganda campaigns" against rising doctor's fees. These additional funds are necessary, for example, to further expand medical care. In the past 20 years, the system had been completely under-funded.
The opposition criticized the record fees of the doctors. The SPD parliamentary director, Thomas Oppermann, criticized the fee development of the doctors. There is no longer any political control over it. In addition, the SPD politician described the planned expansion of the cost reimbursement as "highly problematic". He assumes that such a model will be a prerequisite in the future in order to "get a doctor's appointment at all."
The President of the Berlin Medical Association also justifies the rising medical fees. Günther Jonitz told the television broadcaster ZDF that hardly any of the "lots of money" went to the doctors. A family doctor would only receive 7 euros from an amount of 100 euros in health insurance. "The medical demands are increasing, the patient's demands are increasing," said Jonitz. "And those who work more are entitled to more money."
At the beginning of October, the umbrella association of statutory health insurance companies (GKV) warned of further additional contributions. Contrary to the estimates of the Federal Insurance Office, further additional contributions in 2011 are not excluded. Although the increase in premiums assumes a relaxed situation, the high hospital costs, especially in cities, could result in further unplanned additional expenses for the health insurers. An additional contribution would then be required for such a gap.
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