Health insurance companies criticize the restriction of optional tariffs

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The federal government plans to massively limit the tariffs at the statutory health insurance companies. The health insurance companies are defending themselves with clear criticism: The coalition is trying to weaken the statutory health insurance funds in favor of private health insurance.

(19.08.2010) According to a bill from the Federal Ministry of Health, the coalition plans to massively restrict the tariffs at the statutory health insurance companies. The reason for this is obvious: "high earners" should be lured into private health insurance (PKV). Because the switch to private health insurance should also be simplified considerably. This plan has met with fierce criticism from the statutory health insurance companies. In the course of the health care reform, the federal government is planning to strengthen private insurance at the expense of statutory ones.

On the one hand, the black and yellow coalition plans to promote competition among health insurers, but on the other hand, private providers are also to be strengthened. Because in the course of the health care reform, tariffs of the health insurance companies are to be massively restricted. The chairwoman of the Barmer GEK told the newspaper "Rheinische Post" that it was wrong to restrict the scope of the statutory health insurers in favor of the PKV. Because it should "not be about who makes the offers, but who makes the best offers," said Fischer. The Barmer boss warned the federal government against strengthening the market position of private health insurance at the expense of statutory health insurance companies. Fischer suspects: "The federal government is in the process of launching an aid program for private health insurance". The suspicion arises that the FDP in particular has a “clientele policy” for private health insurance. The head of the AOK Rhineland-Hamburg, Wilfried Jacobs, has a similar view. He sees the restrictions on election tariffs as a "clientele policy par excellence".

According to media reports, there will be massive restrictions on election tariffs as part of the health reform. For example, in the future, health insurance patients should no longer be able to choose between optional tariffs that make it possible, for example, to be treated by a senior doctor or to be accommodated in a single room in clinics. Only privately insured people should be able to take advantage of these exclusive health services. In addition, it is planned to undercut the foreign health insurances with the statutory ones. Health insurers should then take out private supplementary insurance with the private health insurance providers.

The Federal Ministry of Health, led by Philipp Rösler (FDP), stated that it was not planned to "abolish all electoral tariffs". Rather, they want to "define" the tasks of the PKV and GKV more clearly in the future. Conversely, this means that individual election tariffs that are interesting for private health insurance should be closed.

The opposition also criticized. The health expert of the SPD, Dr. Karl Lauterbach told the "Thuringian General", it is a one-sided health care reform "which private providers prefer to share at the expense of statutory insurance". This would result in further "de-solidarization" in the health system. Because not only the electoral tariffs are to be abolished, but high earners who are employed should be able to switch to private health insurance much more easily in the future than was previously the case. The current rule is that an employee must earn a certain gross amount monthly for at least three years in order to be able to switch. This regulation is now to be shortened to one year. As of 2011, employees should be able to switch to private health insurance from a monthly income of € 4162.50. The insured must earn above the minimum amount in just one month.

Although the FDP Minister of Health Rösler has already announced that the unemployed will generally be exempt from the cost of the additional contribution, the Union still sees it as a "need for discussion". The health spokesman for the CDU, Jens Spahn, told the "Frankfurter Rundschau" that unemployment benefit recipients would receive relatively high payments. Therefore, this group of people should pay the contribution. Only recipients of Hartz IV benefits should not pay the additional contribution in the future, says Spahn.

The Federal Minister of Health has until the end of September 2010 to formulate the legislative proposals. After that, the plans are to be decided in the cabinet. The "small health care reform" is to come into force from January 1st. Until then, there will be numerous other suggestions. In addition, the coalition shows disagreement on many projects. (sb)

Also read:
Black and yellow want to attract high earners to the private health insurance
PKV: New regulations should make change easier
Easy change to private health insurance planned
Insured persons should be paid for medical expenses

Image: Stephanie Hofschlaeger /

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