Coalition wants bonus payments from the health insurers

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Federal government wants to force premium payments from health insurance companies

The discussion about a possible payment of premiums by the statutory health insurance companies to its members does not end. While the health insurers are steadily refusing to distribute funds, the black-and-yellow coalition is considering how it can still enforce the bonus distribution.

"Surplus of the funds is money of the insured" The black and yellow coalition is determined to enforce the distribution of the premiums by the statutory health insurance companies to its members. “It is right to put health insurance companies under greater pressure. Surpluses should finally be returned to the insured as premiums, "said Jens Spahn, CDU health policy spokesman, in Berlin on Wednesday. Federal Health Minister Daniel Bahr (FDP) had previously reported to the" Rheinische Post "that many health insurances had very high levels "We are now examining how we can put more pressure on health insurers to return the money that they do not need to care for the insured to their members," reports Bahr. The Federal Health Minister had already asked the statutory health insurance companies to distribute bonuses to their members weeks ago. Spahn also insisted that the surpluses were the money of the insured and the health insurers were not savings banks. He told the Reuters news agency: "As there are minimum reserves, you could also think about a defined maximum reserve amount for individual cash registers."

Healthcare reserves of around EUR 20 billion The background to the discussion about the distribution of premiums is a health care surplus of around EUR 20 billion, which was much higher than expected. Experts attribute the thick financial cushion on the one hand to the good economic development and on the other to the austerity laws passed in 2010. The health fund has meanwhile accumulated around nine billion euros. The rest lies with the health insurance companies themselves. However, they constantly reject the demand for a premium distribution. According to her calculations, the health fund could slip back into the red in the next year.

Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) generated the largest surplus of a single health insurance fund last year in the amount of 962 million euros. Norbert Klusen, head of the TK, told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine” at the beginning of March that due to the unpredictability of the health fund, he saw no way of paying out premiums. TK insureds would still benefit because the health insurance fund had expanded its range of services.

Critics complain that the compulsory distribution should "poorly count" the health insurance companies again. After all, the additional contributions were intended to create an "artificial competitive situation" between the cash registers. However, because all health insurance companies were able to conclude with surpluses, no health insurance fund currently has to charge the additional contribution.

Practice fee to be abolished If the money that the statutory health insurers receive from the financial pool is not sufficient, additional contributions have to be raised.
Due to the high surplus in healthcare, the FDP and the opposition are calling for the abolition of the practice fee. However, the CDU is still in favor of keeping the 10 euros on the first visit to the doctor in the quarter. According to the Union, the practice fee should be saved for bad times in the health fund. Federal Minister of Health Bahr said that the statutory health insurance funds are in such good shape for the next three years that the practice fee can easily be dispensed with. According to the "Tagesspiegel", however, the expenses of the health insurers are increasing again. Drugs grew by 4.5 percent in the first quarter. (ag)

Image: Thommy Weiss /

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