Health insurers refuse to cut premiums despite good earnings
In the coming year, the contributions of the statutory health insurance companies are unlikely to be increased. According to experts, additional contributions, health care reform and the stabilization of the labor market have contributed to the fact that the health insurance contributions will not increase in the coming year.
No increase in health insurance contributions in the current and next year Health insurance patients can breathe a sigh of relief: Due to the good development on the labor market, health insurance income has stabilized again. The premium income of the health insurance funds has not slipped in the current year after initial evaluations. This also has a positive effect on the insured. You do not have to expect any further increases in contributions this year or next year. There is also a high probability that nationwide additional contributions will not be collected. Health insurance companies that now require additional contributions will in all likelihood continue to adhere to this contribution policy next year. The positive forecast was published on Wednesday by the group of estimates by the Federal Insurance Office. Experts from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Federal Insurance Office and the statutory health insurers belong to the group of appraisers. The experts forecast a stable revenue side of the health insurance funds and the health fund under the same conditions. Additional income should be invested for difficult financial situations.
Good development on the labor market The main reason for this development is the increase in contributions due to the turnaround in the labor market and the increase in contributions in January 2011. Because more and more people are employed under social security, the number of contributory members has increased. According to this, the Federal Insurance Office is expecting premium income for the completed year 2011 of EUR 183.4 billion. That is around 1.7 billion euros more than was originally estimated in January. Allocations to health insurance funds from the health fund still remain unchanged at EUR 178.9 billion, in accordance with legal requirements. Health insurance spending is predicted at 177.5 billion euros.
Stable premium income also in 2012 The positive trend should continue in the coming year. The group of estimates also anticipates stable income from health insurance companies. Due to the good situation on the labor market, a surplus is expected for the current year. This additional income is to be allocated to the health fund's liquidity reserve, as a top meeting of representatives of the health insurance companies, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Insurance Office in Bonn decided. A reduction in the cash contributions was rejected.
With an estimated € 183.4 billion in cash receipts and allocations of € 178.9 billion to the health fund, there is a whopping additional amount of around € 4.5 billion. The surplus is to be used, for example, to cover the additional contributions from Hartz IV, social welfare recipients and low earners. The experts have earmarked a total of around 2.0 billion euros for this purpose, which is expected to last until 2014. Another 2.4 billion euros are to be kept as “nest egg” to compensate for any economic fluctuations that may occur and to secure the revenue side. A liquidity reserve was created in the health fund so that health insurance companies in difficult financial situations or insolvencies meet their payment obligations to doctors, drug manufacturers and clinics. This ensures that patients are cared for even in the event of a bankruptcy. Additional revenue is expected in 2012. The total revenue is estimated at 185.7 billion euros. The expenditure of the cash registers is given as 185.4 billion euros. As a result, health insurance expenditure could be fully covered by the health fund allocations next year, as the experts explained. Overall, the estimators expect an increase on the expenditure side of 4.5 percent compared to the previous year. In particular, this is due to increased consumption and rising prices for medicines.
Contribution reductions are categorically rejected. Claims by the trade unions, the SPD and the Left Party to lower the health insurance contributions due to the increase in revenue, the health insurers clearly rejected. Such a small "surplus leaves no scope" to "discuss reductions in premiums," said the chairman of the Association of Replacement Funds Thomas Ballast. The head of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV) decidedly rejected the calls from doctors and clinics for higher funding for patient care. Doris Pfeiffer said: "Such demands from representatives of the medical profession and the hospitals for additional funding, especially for their clientele, are completely inappropriate." From the home of the Federal Ministry of Health it was heard that the excess funds will be invested for later times. (sb)
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