Health insurance patients wait 16 days longer

Health insurance patients wait 16 days longer

Statutory health insurers in Baden-Württemberg wait an average of 16 days longer for a specialist appointment

In Baden-Württemberg, according to a short study by the parliamentary group Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, people with statutory health insurance wait significantly longer for an appointment with a specialist than those with private health insurance (PKV). According to the Greens politician and members of the Bundestag, neurological specialists showed up.

For the non-representative study, the politician's employees called a total of 490 outpatient specialists and claimed to be either a health insurance or private patient. "In the survey, only a quarter of the practices called made little or no difference," the summary said. In some cases, doctors' offices had differences in appointments of more than 100 days. A particularly blatant case was observed at a doctor's office in Karlsruhe. While the private patient got an appointment after only 20 days, the health insurance patient should wait 210 days (7 months) for the initial examination.

Higher medical fees for private patients
Doctors assign different appointments because they are paid differently for the therapies, says Bender. For treatment of a private patient, the doctors receive 2.5 times the rate of a patient with a health insurance. In this context, the politician called for a fundamental reform of the health system. Instead of the two-tier system, health insurance should be introduced for all German citizens. Patients would be treated equally in the case of citizens' insurance because the framework conditions would have changed. In addition to the Greens, parts of the SPD and the Left Party are also calling for the introduction of statutory citizens' insurance. However, such a proposal meets with resistance from the FDP and the Union.

In the course of the sample, almost 500 medical practices in Baden-Württemberg were called. At first, the caller pretended to be a private patient and a maximum of one day later to be a cash patient. The medical practices of neurologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, orthopedists, cardiologists and ear, nose and throat specialists (ENT) were selected at random from the telephone book.

Waiting time differences in the parts of the country
In addition to the significantly longer waiting time difference, there were also differences in the parts of the country. The differences were particularly large in the regions of Friedrichshafen, Ravensburg and the surrounding area with 21 days, in Karlsruhe and Pforzheim with 19 days and in the Eastern Black Forest with 18 days. In contrast, the regions of Ulm, Tübingen and Reutlingen showed a short interval between the appointments with 11 days, Mannheim with 12 days and the greater Stuttgart area with 13 days. 15 doctor's offices never gave appointments to insured persons of the statutory health insurance companies.

The testers also observed differences in the medical specializations. Statutory health insurance patients had to wait the longest for a doctor's appointment with a neurologist with an average time difference of 24 days. Appointments with dermatologists were given an average of 22 days waiting time, with ophthalmologists 21 days. The ear, nose and throat doctors and cardiologists also had long waiting times. However, the waiting times here were less divergent. 4 days for ENT specialists and 7 days for cardiac specialists. A study by the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) came to similar results last November. (sb)

Read on:
Health insurance patients wait longer for doctor's appointments
Doctor's appointments: health insurance patients are disadvantaged
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Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixelio

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