Advice from health insurers is often inadequate


Financial test: Advice from the statutory health insurance companies is rarely good. Still, the results are better than two years ago.

(08/17/2010) The magazine "Finanztest" examined the advice and service of 21 statutory health insurance companies more closely for the insured and comes to the conclusion that only two of them advise their customers "well". The other 19 received the rating "satisfactory", none of the insurance companies was able to achieve a "very good" grade.

As early as 2007, the magazine published by the Stiftung Warentest had tested the range of advice and services offered by the statutory health insurance companies in a practical health insurance test, although this time insurance companies generally performed better than they did two years ago. The best results in the current test were achieved by Techniker Krankenkasse and AOK Plus, which, however, is only represented in Saxony and Thuringia, and from 2011 also in Hesse. Barmer GEK follows in third place.

Accessibility improvements.
There has been a significant improvement since 2007, particularly with regard to the availability of insurance. The customer service was consistently good by phone and only problems with email inquiries were more frequent, which meant that around every eighth electronic message was not answered. If there was an answer to an email, this information was usually worse than in personal conversations or phone calls.

In the area of ​​medical advice, there are also considerable gaps in insurance. Only AOK Plus was able to get a good grade for its advice. The AOK Baden-Württemberg performed worst in the advice, which only provided sufficient services. The advisory service was tested with the help of test customers who either contacted the cash register by phone or e-mail, or who received personal advice at a branch. For example, the test subjects sought advice on clinical pictures such as diabetes or high blood pressure or asked about additional services offered such as preventive medical check-ups, health courses etc. The financial test rated positive that every health insurance company now has a medical hotline to which the insured can contact.

Extra tariffs and further offers from health insurance companies.
The financial test determined that there was a lot of catching up to do, particularly with regard to advice on further offers from the health insurance companies. Here, none of the insurance companies was able to achieve a better result than "sufficient" and some even performed "poorly". The extensive advisory material from brochures and leaflets to information provided on the Internet is therefore not used sufficiently.

Often no contact person at the health insurance companies.
In addition, the insured person is often not given a contact person for any inquiries and they only find out on their own initiative which useful additional services their insurance company offers. However, there are significant gaps in the work of the individual consultants and they were unable to provide the correct information even when asked.

Internet offers of the health insurance companies mostly good or very good.
Most health insurance companies received a "good" to "very good" rating for the information provided on the Internet. The result was "very good" four times, consistently from AOK health insurance companies, whose internet presence is very similar anyway, since most of the internet presence of the various AOK insurance companies is largely based on an offer centrally managed by the AOK federal association. The website of Techniker Krankenkasse, Barmer-GEK, DAK and the KKH alliance was also rated "good". But here, too, some health insurers were only able to provide "sufficient" services, such as the Deutsche BKK, BKK Gesundheit, Big direkt gesundheit and IKK Südwest, although the website was also not considered to be essential for customer support during the test. (fp)

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