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Additional contribution: Cartel Office loses against cash: Unauthorized price fixing between the health insurance companies?
Eight statutory health insurance funds announced an additional contribution in January 2010. As a result, a legal dispute flared up between the Federal Cartel Office and the health insurance companies. The cartel office raised the suspicion that the cash registers would force an illegal price agreement. The cartel office asked the cash registers for the “suspicion of an inadmissible price fixing between companies”. However, the health insurers did not want to allow this and resisted it.
Three health insurance companies then went before the state social courts in Hamburg, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. However, the Bundeskartellamt did not want the legal dispute to be modest before the regional social courts, but rather before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court. The Federal Social Court in Kassel dismissed a corresponding complaint by the Federal Cartel Office. The judges ruled that the legal dispute affected the scope of the self-administration right of the health insurance companies. The dispute is a "public law dispute in matters of statutory health insurance, which is mandatory and exclusively assigned to social justice". The state social courts would now have to decide whether the Bundeskartellamt is actually entitled to request the relevant documents from the health insurance companies.
In accordance with social law, health insurance companies are allowed to charge flat-rate additional contributions from their insured. This applies if the financial resources from the health fund are demonstrably insufficient. A total of 16 statutory health insurance companies currently charge an additional contribution. Most charge an additional contribution of eight euros. In the course of the health care reform, it is up to the health insurance funds to determine the amount of the additional contributions from 2011 onwards. (sb, 09/29/2010)
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