Complaints to private health insurers

Complaints to private health insurers

Expert opinion: More complaints with private health insurance companies

According to media reports, some private health insurance (PKV) contributions have increased by 20 to 30 percent since the beginning of 2010.

Reasons are, it can be read, increased drug prices and, according to the newspaper "Der Tagesspiegel", "more and more doctors and laboratories" (...) "harm the private patients for lost cash receipts". It also says that private health insurers have very little opportunity to negotiate prices, service quantities and quality. For example, private insurers are now demanding that there be more opportunities for them to exert influence.

According to media reports, the Federal Government has received an opinion from the Berlin Institute for Health and Social Research (IGES) and ex-economist and economist Bert Rürup, according to which expenditure on benefits from private insured persons rose by 49 percent between 1997 and 2008. Among the members of the statutory health insurance, it was only 31 percent. And according to the German consumer protection organization Stiftung Warentest, the premiums for members of the PKV should have risen by six percent annually, while it was only 3 percent for members of the PKV.

According to the information, some private insurers are supposed to offer extremely cheap tariffs as an incentive for new customers, which would later lead to rather high premium increases. According to the PKV Ombudsman, Helmut Müller, it is legally stipulated that the contributions have to be increased if the real costs compared to the calculated would be more than 10 percent.

Because according to a report of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" on Monday, the displeasure of the members about increased contributions and withheld services would now be expressed in frequent complaints and become visible. The complaints had already increased by ten percent in 2009 and had increased by half since 2004. In total, there were a little more than 5,000 complaints in 2009, a large part of which was due to the increases mentioned.

According to the "Tagesspiegel", the old and chronically ill privately insured would have to pay the price for the developments. You could no longer go back to the SHI and no longer cheaply to another PKV.
According to other media reports, a spokeswoman for the IGES said that a study group planned by experts from the Ministry of Economic Affairs had been stopped.

Media accuses the Ministry of Rainer Brüderle (FDP) of withholding the expert opinion from the public. The federal government, especially the FDP, strongly endorses the principle of funded provision, as operated by private health insurers. The study is more than inconvenient.

There are complex relationships that must be included in the criticism, because as always, scapegoating is not a solution-oriented approach. If the statements in the media reports are correct and laboratories and physicians really get back the losses caused by the health reform from private insured people, then politically rethinking and acting must take place that go beyond surface cosmetic measures.

From the point of view of naturopathy, private health insurance companies are an important factor in the payment of naturopathic therapies in Germany. With the cost assumptions, they partially rethink and broaden the perspective beyond established medical procedures. (Thorsten Fischer, naturopath osteopathy, February 17, 2010)

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