City BKK health insurance company is closed

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For the first time since the health care reform, a statutory health insurance company has been closed without a merger. The City BKK company health insurance fund will be dissolved on July 1, 2011. Insured persons have to look for new health insurance by the closing date.

The statutory health insurance company City BKK will be closed on July 1st. Around 170,000 health insurers now have to find a new health insurance company. The future of the approximately 400 employees is still unclear. For the approximately 170,000 policyholders of the City BKK company health insurance scheme, the closure means looking for a new health insurance company. All health benefits will remain in effect until July 1st. Therapies and examinations that have already started can be continued without further ado. If the health insurer can no longer pay for the costs, the association of company health insurers for insolvent City BKK must step in.

Federal Insurance Office decides to close
As the Federal Insurance Office officially announced on Wednesday in Bonn, the statutory health insurance City BKK will be finally closed on July 1, 2011. The decision to close was unavoidable because the financial difficulties of the till, which had been struck for months, were no longer manageable. The Federal Insurance Office, as the supervisory authority, has the duty to act consistently in the interests of the insured in the event of impending insolvency. This means that for the first time since the introduction of the health fund, a health insurance company has closed without a merger.

Future of employees uncertain For the approximately 400 employees of the cash register, the closure most likely means the loss of a job. The regional branches in Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart will be closed until they are fully processed. For workers, the closure means looking for a new job. It is not yet known whether compensation payments will be made for the loss of employment or whether takeovers to other company funds are planned.

Politics welcomes the closure of the City BKK
Politicians welcome the closing of the cash register. "We want competition between health insurance companies. This also means that unsuccessful insurance companies disappear from the market," said the health expert at the CDU, Jens Spahn, to the newspaper "Rheinische Post". After all, the closing of the cash register "is also a sign to all cash registers who think they can somehow muddle through," Spahn continued. If a health insurance company wants to survive on the health insurance market, it "has to make an effort". However, it was now important to ensure that the insured affected did not suffer any disadvantage as a result of the outage and that they could "switch to another fund without gaps".

City BKK was facing impending bankruptcy months ago
In April this year it became known that the Federal Insurance Office wanted to examine the balance sheets of the first quarter closely. At this point, an end to the City BKK was already in sight. Despite collecting additional contributions, the health insurance fund was no longer able to compensate for its financial problems. According to the Federal Insurance Office, the reason for the closure is the lack of efficiency of the CITY BKK, which is no longer guaranteed in the long term (Section 153 Sentence 1 No. 3 SGB V).

The CITY BKK had already reported its debt and insolvency in 2010. Among other things, the health insurance company blames the insufficient funds of the health fund for the failure. Due to the partly outdated membership structure in the "medical high-price regions of Berlin and Hamburg", the health insurance fund was nevertheless reimbursed the average morbidity costs nationwide. In the further course of the last year, the cash register created a renovation concept and tried above all to save costs in the administrative area. In addition, a very high additional contribution of 15 euros per cash register member was raised. Ultimately, however, the additional contribution did not lead to the rescue but to further instability of the fund because many insured members exercised their right to change. About a quarter of the members also refused to pay the additional contribution. This is also confirmed by the chairman of the Federal Insurance Office, Maximilian Gaßner: "Unfortunately, a reorganization concept presented by City BKK did not bring the hoped-for success, particularly due to the extraordinarily high number of members leaving in the first quarter of 2011". However, Gassner disagreed with the statements that the problems were due to the insufficient allocation of the health fund. Rather, the City BKK had previously had major problems because of "far above-average expenditure on services" and had to be supported by other company funds.

Health care benefits continue to be paid to insured persons
Until the final closure, all patient services are paid. The many health care providers, such as physiotherapists, aid suppliers, health clinics, doctors, hospitals and pharmacies do not have to worry. In contrast to bankruptcies at commercial companies, even after the closure of a health insurance company, all obligations are fulfilled. "The respective type of health insurance then comes up for these liabilities, in the case of City BKK the system of company health insurance."

Members should look for a new cash register
The Federal Insurance Office emphasizes that City BKK members do not have to worry about the closure. After the announcement, you would now have enough time to look for a new and adequate health insurance company. No health insurance fund can reject former City BKK insured persons on the basis of their health, age or income. Members subject to compulsory insurance can switch to a new cash register of their own choice up to two weeks after the closure. If this period expires, the employer will independently look for a new fund for the employee. The new health insurance coverage follows on from the previous one. The member himself and all family members who are also insured free of charge are insured with the new health insurer from the first day after the closure. This means that the entire service catalog of the new cash register is immediately available without waiting or waiting.

Pensioners and Hartz IV recipients
If you are dependent on social assistance or Hartz IV payments, you can also independently search for a new health insurance company. If you let the two-week deadline pass after closing, the Federal Employment Agency will automatically register with another fund. This also applies to pensioners, here the pension insurance provider takes care. This measure ensures that there are no gaps in coverage.

Voluntarily insured persons
For self-employed or civil servants who are voluntarily insured by law, slightly different regulations apply. You have to explain the change yourself within three months of the announcement of the closure, otherwise the entitlement to statutory health insurance expires. Those who do not meet the deadline and do not take care of private health insurance, for example, are subject to the subordinate insurance obligation in the statutory health insurance. In this way, seamless insurance protection should also be guaranteed in these cases. However, the person forfeits the right to continue to be legally insured.

Acting yourself avoids trouble
In all cases, it is best to take action independently and to compare offers from other health insurers. Since such a closure has so far been unique since the introduction of the health fund, the intervention mechanisms may not work properly in some cases. It is therefore important to take sufficient care of yourself in any case, whether voluntary or compulsory insurance.

Further cash registers in danger
After unconfirmed reports, other health insurance companies are threatened with closure. The BKK health professions and the common company health insurance company Cologne (GBK) also recently reported financial problems to the supervisory authorities. The health insurance companies are legally obliged to report impending insolvency at an early stage. (sb)

Read on:
City BKK is facing bankruptcy
City-BKK saved from bankruptcy?
Statutory health insurance companies in need
City BKK & GBK health insurers threatened with bankruptcy
City BKK and GBK saved from bankruptcy
GBK health insurance company now broke?

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