Bahr wants to cut the tariffs of the health insurance companies

Bahr wants to cut the tariffs of the health insurance companies

Elective tariffs of the statutory health insurance companies are to be effectively abolished

The golden days of private health insurance seem to be over. Many insured people no longer believe the promises made by the industry. Because those who get old and sick have to pay an excessive amount, while the young and newly insured are blessed with low premiums. In order to help the stricken private health insurers, the FDP Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr wants to severely curtail the range of options offered by statutory health insurance. Especially those earning well should be encouraged to switch to private health insurance with the amendment to the law. The opposition, on the other hand, berates the draft law as a “clientele policy in favor of private health insurance”.

According to a report by the "Berliner Zeitung", the business efforts of the statutory health insurance companies are to be significantly curtailed, according to the Minister of Health Daniel Bahr. Among other things, it is planned to severely restrict the choice of tariffs. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the health insurance companies to submit campaign tariff offers to their insured persons, as the newspaper reports in its issue today, citing internal circles.

Since 2007, statutory health insurance companies have been able to offer their customers various health services with different tariffs. According to information from the health insurers, these tariffs are used by around nine million insured patients. These tariffs are partly similar to what private insurers offer.

High-earners should switch to private funds
The target group of the election tariffs are primarily insured persons who have a very good income. These tariffs are intended to prevent them from switching from SHI to PKV. This is why these tariffs have long been a thorn in the side of the insurance companies, which is why the PKV has long tried to persuade the federal government to change the law. "The electoral tariff offers should be abolished," is the clear demand of the PKV.

But the Federal Ministry of Health does not want to completely ban the election tariffs. Rather, these should become very expensive for the health insurers due to a change in the law that it will no longer be worthwhile to offer them in the future. "The consequence would be that the health insurance companies would set the optional tariffs," says Thomas Meyer, insurance expert from Hanover. Then Meyer believes that the PKV would go on the offensive and strongly promote election tariffs. The main goal, however, is then "not only to offer the additional tariffs, but also to lure new customers into the PKV who have a good income".

The supplementary insurance of the private health insurance is booming
The number of supplementary insurances in private health insurance rose in 2011 by around 500,000 new insurances to 22.5 million. As in previous years, there was particularly strong growth in supplementary long-term care insurance. Here the number rose by 10.6 percent to 1.88 million. In the past 5 years, the number of all private supplementary insurance has increased by four million or around a fifth. Until mid-2012, the private health insurance system saw an increase of 86,300 in the additional tariffs. "The introduction of the so-called unisex tariffs somewhat dampened the business expectations of the industry," said the association. Many customers wait until the tariffs develop. Nevertheless, the numbers show that the industry is growing and actually does not need any new laws to continue growing.

Opposition to the bill
The opposition strongly criticized the Ministry of Health's plans. "The election tariffs of the health insurance should be dried out through the back door," said the SPD health politician Dr. Karl Lauterbach the newspaper in Berlin. Federal Minister of Health Bahr "clearly clientele policy for private health insurance," said the politician and doctor.

Holding effects in the financing of the election tariffs are to be prohibited
Minister Bahr wants to prohibit by law that "so-called holding effects are taken into account when financing the election tariffs". Health insurance companies can include contributions from insured persons who have been prevented from switching to private health insurance. According to the newspaper, up to 90 percent of the cost of a tariff can be factored in using this effect. The draft law now stipulates that these tariffs will be changed again by the end of 2014. The Ministry heard that "a European law ban on cross-subsidies is responsible for this".

The health insurance companies are already raving against Bahr's plans. "If the holding effect is not taken into account, we lose well-earning members to private insurance companies," predicts the CEO of the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), Jens Baas. The optional tariffs would make the offer of statutory health insurance significantly more attractive. It is a means of keeping high earners in the solidarity system. (sb)

Also read:
Emergency tariffs only help the PKV
Health insurance companies: Non-payers cause losses
Private patients flee to the health insurance companies

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixilio

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