Health insurance: additional contributions from 2012 “on a broad front”.
(14.09.2010) The costs in the health system continue to explode and reach a level that, in the opinion of AOK boss Herbert Reichelt, will make it necessary to collect additional contributions on a "broad front" as early as 2012. According to the expert, the steadily increasing treatment costs are responsible for the impending deficit. A current survey by the AOK's scientific institute (WIdO) has shown that around 8 percent of those with statutory health insurance already have the impression that they are examined and treated too extensively when they visit a doctor.
In the coming year, almost all statutory health insurances will still be able to get by without charging additional contributions due to the planned increase in the contribution rate from 14.9 to 15.5 percent and the additional savings measures. From 2012, however, the experts believe that most statutory health insurances will have to introduce additional contributions. The massively rising costs can hardly be absorbed in any other way, whereby the current study by the WIdO also suggests cost-saving measures at the level of treatment and examination.
In the opinion of the experts, the patient receipt offers a good approach to achieve better cost control for treatments and examinations on the part of the insured. In an interview with the "Rheinische Post", the health expert of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, Stefan Etgeton, demanded that patient receipts be advertised more, because "we need more transparency in the system." However, this should not be an expression of general distrust of doctors The diagnosis of the doctor and his therapies are clearly noted on the patient receipt, so that patients who feel they have been treated or examined unnecessarily can be more consistent between the patient's illnesses and the medical diagnoses and the subsequent treatment With the patient receipt, contact the independent patient advisory service, your own health insurance company or the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, who in most cases can determine exactly whether the recorded diagnosis and treatment was appropriate for the specified symptoms or illnesses of the insured person survey of the WIdO also showed that around 80 percent of the insured were generally satisfied with their medical treatment.
On the other hand, only 30 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with the current structure of the health system and almost two thirds two thirds assume that the benefits of their health insurance will decrease in the future. The representatives of the statutory health insurance companies are also calling for a structural reform of the entire system. The looming deficit for 2012 requires political action, emphasizes AOK federal chairman Reichelt and expects the health insurances to have more freedom of negotiation when concluding inexpensive contracts with doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. The statutory insurance companies see themselves exposed to increasing competitive pressure, in which the charging of additional contributions is a clear disadvantage. So far, almost all statutory insurance companies have tried to forego such contributions, otherwise they are threatened with massive membership losses.
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For many statutory health insurances, the introduction of additional contributions sets in a vicious circle of additional contributions, membership losses, growing deficits and renewed additional contributions that they can only break through with difficulty. Only when additional contributions are an integral part of the system in accordance with the plans of the black and yellow federal government and every insurance company levies them, could the development described above be avoided. Until then, however, the statutory insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid falling into the vicious circle of additional contributions. One of the main goals of the current mergers among the statutory health insurances is to avoid the collection of additional contributions by reducing costs. Due to the development, according to the experts, such as AOK vice-boss Jürgen Graalmann, of the currently 163 statutory health insurance companies, only around 50 will be left in four to five years.
Although many statutory health insurances (GKV) have already reached the limit of their financial resilience, Federal Health Minister Philipp Rösler (FDP) is planning various measures to further increase the competitive pressure from private health insurances (PKV). So z. B. Supplementary tariffs have been deleted, the pharmaceutical discounts previously reserved for statutory health insurances have been extended to include private health insurance and the switch between private health insurance and statutory health insurance is made easier. The federal government is thus increasingly distancing itself from the previously valid principle of solidarity, which is assessed positively by 71 percent of the insured in the current WIdO survey. The situation in the health system continues to worsen as fundamentally opposing interests are often pursued. A clear commitment to statutory insurance and a new regulation of the cost structure would be urgently required. (fp)