New AOK Northeast planned

Two AOK health insurance companies are merging: AOK Berlin-Brandenburg and AOK Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania will become one AOK Northeast health insurance fund.

(26.08.2010) Two AOK health insurance companies are merging: AOK Berlin-Brandenburg and AOK Mecklenburg-Vorpommern will become an overall health insurance company called "AOK Nordost". According to the health insurers, the merger is planned for January 1, 2011, the board of directors of both health insurers decided on Wednesday in separate meetings. The amalgamation will include: avoided charging an additional contribution for the coming year, as it was said. The chairman of the AOK Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Friedrich Wilhelm Bluschke, said: "The insured will not be entitled to an additional contribution after the merger."

If both health insurance companies join together, the "AOK Nordost" has around 1.8 million insured. Only at the beginning of the year did the "AOK Berlin" and the "AOK Brandenburg" merge to form the "AOK Berlin-Brandenburg". As a result of this merger, around 1.3 million people were already insured in the merged health insurance fund. The AOK Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has about half a million (480,000) members. If the two join together, the eleven largest statutory health insurers in Germany stand out with the 1.8 million insured.

Other general local health insurance companies (AOK) are also planning mergers. The AOK Thuringia / Saxony want to merge with Hessen and the AOK Schleswig-Holstein with Westphalia. In the future, there will only be a few, but large, AOK health insurance companies.

In total there are still 160 health insurance companies in Germany. The number will continue to decrease until the end of the year. More and more health insurance companies are planning mergers. The reason: certain positions can only be better represented in relation to pharmaceutical companies and medical associations with a certain size. Large health insurance companies can generally react better to financial bottlenecks than small ones. Additional contributions can also be avoided with a certain size. Experts predict that there will only be 50 to 80 health insurance companies in Germany in one to two years.

The current wave of health insurance mergers is viewed with increasing concern by experts and is already warning of a possible collapse of the health system. So far, there has always been the option of registering a possible insolvency with the Federal Insurance Office if there is insufficient funding, i.e. the rest of the risk lay with the insurance companies themselves. However, with the current wave of mergers, some health insurers, such as B. the Bamer GEK reaches a size that makes it impossible to process such a health insurance fund through a proper insolvency procedure, since its members could not be accommodated easily with other health insurance funds. Experts such as Rolf Stuppardt from the Federal Association of Guilds' Funds even assume that the current mergers generally have "little to do with health-economic goals", but mainly serve to achieve a system-relevant size so that the state has to intervene in the event of bankruptcy . So is the AOK planning a large overall AOK soon? (sb)

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Image: Ulli Przyyclingk /

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