Health insurance companies: new additional contributions in 2012?

New health insurers additional contributions already in 2012?

(11.09.2010) In the opinion of the Federal Chairman of the General Local Health Insurance Fund, further additional contributions will be levied "on a broad front" by the statutory health insurance funds. The financial situation of the health insurance companies will be secured in the coming year 2011 by increasing the health insurance contributions.

From January 2011, the statutory health insurance premiums will be increased from 14.9 to 15.5 percent. In the opinion of the Federal Chairman of the AOK, Herbert Reichelt, this increase is inevitable. At the beginning of the year, the AOK chief had predicted a deficit in the health fund of 11 billion euros. In Reichelt's view, nothing has changed despite the good economic situation. Because the improved economy arrives at the health insurance companies only after a very long time. "We assume that the statutory health insurance will initially receive sufficient financing without benefit cuts for 2011," said AOK boss Reichelt. However, additional health care costs for health insurance patients could arise in 2012. We expect further additional contributions "on a broad front" announced Reichelt. Because deficits can also be expected in the coming years. The AOK boss was not yet able to quantify the amount. For this reason, the head of the cash register asked politicians to tackle structural reforms. For example, it is urgently necessary for health insurance companies to be given more freedom to negotiate in order to conclude more cost-effective contracts with pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical associations and hospitals.

The health insurance companies are still under enormous financial pressure. Ultimately, this pressure is also encouraged by various reform proposals from the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP). A number of measures in the course of the health care reform are intended to favor private health insurance. It is planned to lower the assessment limit for high earners so that a change to private health insurance can be carried out more quickly. Rösler also wants the additional tariffs to be set by the statutory health insurance companies. Offers such as treatment by chief physician, international health insurance, single bed occupancy or naturopathy procedures will in future only be allowed to be offered by private individuals. This means that the statutory health insurance companies lose important income, which in turn is passed on to the health insurance patients.

However, the future additional costs should not be covered by further increases in contributions, but by further and very likely higher additional contributions. After all, the federal government does not want to burden employers any further. This is because employers have to contribute at least half of the contribution increases. The insured themselves remain at the expense of the additional contributions. In the course of the health care reform, the way for higher additional contributions will be opened. Because from 2011, the health insurance companies can determine the amount of the additional contributions themselves.

On the other hand, the health insurance companies try to prevent further additional contributions. Because experience shows that the insured run away from the health insurance companies in droves if a health insurance company charges additional contributions. For this reason, many health insurers are fleeing with other health insurers in order to better compensate for financial bottlenecks. At AOK alone, it is planned to carry out at least four further mergers in 2011. The deputy AOK chairman Jürgen Graalmann therefore expects the number of health insurers to decrease from the current 163 to around 50 health insurers in the coming years. Politicians want this, because it can increase the efficiency of the health insurance. It remains uncertain whether all of these measures will be sufficient to secure the financing situation of the health insurers. The first thing that is clear is that the Federal Ministry of Health is pushing to weaken statutory health care. Health services are to be privatized step by step, at least all previous announcements from the ministry do not allow any other conclusion. (sb)

Continue reading:
Health insurance companies: premium increases will come
No additional insurance with health insurance companies
Rösler wants to protect the pharmaceutical lobby

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