Cash register mergers endanger the health system

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Do health insurance mergers endanger the health system?

(07.08.2010) Due to the financial pressure, more and more statutory health insurance companies are planning mergers with other insurance companies. However, according to health insurance experts, mergers between large health insurance companies could endanger the entire health system. In addition, the chairman of the Federal Association of Guild Health Insurance Funds, Rolf Stuppardt, doubts that the associations of the health insurance funds could achieve the health economic goals.

According to the "Frankfurter Rundschau", mergers between the large health insurance companies could lead to serious consequences for the competing smaller insurance companies. If a health insurance company gets into bankruptcy, the other insurance companies must take out the insured. The collapse of a health insurance company that grew through a merger affects the entire health system. This is particularly the case when two health insurance funds merge with one another, but both health insurance funds are virtually bankrupt and cannot make do with the funds from the health fund.

The head of the guild health insurance company Rolf Stuppardt accused the health insurance companies of wanting to secure the protection of the state in a similar way to the banks. Because if a health insurance company has grown so large as a result of a merger, it means a serious risk to the health system in the event of a collapse. Stuppardt told the "FR": "It is about individual health insurance companies to achieve sufficient power so that in the event of bankruptcy the call to the state is answered." If such a health insurance company goes bankrupt, the state would very likely have to step in, as otherwise too many health insurers would have to change and the other health insurance companies would also get into emergency situations as a result. The costs would then be proportionately greater, so that the state would have to step in. (sb)

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