AOK Westphalia announces merger with AOK Schleswig-Holstein.
(June 30th, 2010) Shortly after AOK Plus announced its merger with AOK Hessen, AOK Westfalen-Lippe announced its merger with AOK Schleswig-Holstein. As early as October this year, both health insurers want to implement the unification. The permanent cost pressure burdens the health insurance companies. The only way out is to get bigger.
As soon as the "AOK Plus" announced its merger with the AOK Thuringia-Saxony into the "AOK PLUS", another general local health insurance company is now following suit. AOK Westfalen-Lippe and AOK Schleswig-Holstein are creating a new health insurance company under the name "AOK NordWest". This creates the eighth largest statutory health insurance company in Germany with around 2.8 million members. The AOK Nordwest will have its headquarters in Dortmund. According to information from the AOK, however, no branches are to be closed. All insured can also keep their old health insurance cards, they do not have to be exchanged separately. Nothing else changes for the insured.
Through the merger, the AOK Schleswig-Holstein excludes the introduction of flat-rate additional contributions. Also, one does not assume that members will quit the merger. In addition, both health insurance companies would bring in solid financial resources. The Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV) would still have to give their consent to the merger. Further mergers from health insurance companies can be expected in the near future. The reason: Larger health insurance companies can react better to the financially tense situation. Smaller funds in particular are currently at risk of bankruptcy. (sb)
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