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Statutory health insurance companies require higher basic contributions. After numerous statutory health insurances (GKV) demand flat-rate additional contributions from their members, the largest German health insurer "Barmer GEK" is now demanding that the general contribution rates of the insured be raised. The background to this demand is the expected deficit of the health insurance companies, which in 2011 will be several billion euros.
(April 20, 2010) In the near future there will be a lot more to the GKV insured. First the members are unsettled with the new additional contributions and now a discussion about increasing the cash contributions is being launched. In addition, there is still the unspeakable and unsocial head lump sum, which is favored above all by the FDP. The background to the new debate is a billion-dollar deficit that the health insurance companies are retracting. The Federal Insurance Office recently estimated the financial deficit for 2011 at 15 billion euros. A deficit of 4 billion is already estimated for 2010. Despite the additional contributions, it will not be possible to cover the deficit. According to estimates by the health insurance companies, the additional contributions would offset just 10 billion euros. In future, contributors will have to prepare for having to spend more money on health care overall. If not this year, then probably next year.
In the sign of the times, the largest German health insurance company "Barmer GEK" is now calling for an increase in the general health insurance contribution rate. Other health insurance companies also provided support for this requirement. For example, the deputy chairman of the AOK board of directors in Bavaria, Walter Schwarz, told Welt Online: "In view of the dramatic deficit of all statutory health insurances expected for 2011, an increase in the general contribution rate is inevitable". A prompt response came from the Federal Ministry of Health: "This year the total contribution will not be increased," said a spokeswoman. Then next year?
In the meantime, there are increasing signs that other statutory health insurances want to charge an additional fee. The "Handelsblatt" reported that the AOK will soon also raise flat-rate contributions. At the moment, the AOK is neither denied nor commented on.
Against the background of the expected higher contributions for employers and employees, the German Employers' Association (BDA) has also joined the ongoing debate. It was suggested in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" to simply cut benefits from a total of 10 billion euros. Spouses, according to the proposal, should only be insured free of charge if they raise children in the household. In addition, each member should pay a flat-rate premium totaling 245 euros per month. This proposal is sharply criticized by the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB). The DGB calls for a return to equal contribution financing and is resolutely opposed to the proposals for a flat rate per capita. Annelie Buntenbach from the DGB Board of Directors said: "The BDA's proposals are essentially aimed at limiting the benefits of the GKV, increasing co-payments and practice fees, and drawing 10 billion euros more out of the insured's pockets. The insured are already paying Extra burdens of 15 billion euros per year due to the employee's special contribution of 0.9 percent, co-payments and the practice fee. An increase in these special burdens for the insured to 25 billion euros per year is nothing but an unimaginative rip-off that employers can deal with want to steal responsibility for the financing of statutory health insurance. "
Buntenbach made it clear that the deficit of the health insurance companies should also be regulated differently. If employers would pay the full health insurance contribution rate and the federal government would pay appropriate contributions, for example for Hartz 4 recipients, the deficits to be feared of the statutory health insurance in 2010 and 2011 would be more than covered. The next few days will show how the federal government will react. So far, FDP Federal Health Minister Philipp Rösler has not been able to enforce his ideas of a head lump sum within the federal government. (sb)
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Photo credit: Rainer Sturm, Pixelio.de