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Funds skeptical about additional billions from health funds
Health insurance companies in Germany are to receive a huge financial injection from the federal government to curb the rise in contribution rates. However, the umbrella organization of statutory health insurers (GKV) currently sees no need for the additional billion euros.
Billions of dollars injected from health funds
Recently, plans have been reported by the black and red federal government, according to which the statutory health insurance companies should receive a billion-dollar injection from the health fund. The health insurers themselves had previously stated that the new integration law would result in higher additional expenditure. But now the dpa news agency reports that the umbrella organization of statutory health insurance companies (GKV) sees no need for the time being to take additional billions from the health fund to provide medical care for refugees.
"No financial burden for the health insurance companies"
Doris Pfeiffer, chairwoman of the GKV umbrella association, told the German Press Agency that these costs for asylum seekers would be borne by the municipalities in the first 15 months. "Therefore, there is no financial burden for the health insurance companies." According to the information, the grand coalition wants to allocate an additional 1.5 billion euros from the health fund to the health insurance companies in the election year 2017. The Federal Ministry of Health justifies the additional funds with the care of refugees and the expansion of telemedicine. The health fund currently still has reserves of around ten billion euros.
Burdens for contributors should be avoided
“Good medical care for refugees is in all of our senses. But for me it is also clear that we should avoid additional burdens for the contributors, ”Health Minister Hermann Gröhe (CDU) told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Monday). "That is why we are now taking the necessary precautions." According to the dpa, the CDU politician called it "justifiable" to take a billion euros from the health fund's reserve for the care of the refugees. According to the information, a further 500 million investments in the telemedical infrastructure would be financed. Telemedicine has long been promoted as an important measure against the lack of doctors in rural areas.
Expensive reforms a challenge for the health insurance companies
As Pfeiffer further explained, it is not yet possible to reliably estimate how many asylum seekers actually get statutory health insurance through receiving unemployment benefit II (ALG II or Hartz IV). "Detached from this, we have been criticizing for some time that the contributions for ALG II recipients generally do not cover costs. If there is currently a real financial challenge for health insurance companies, it is certainly primarily the expensive reforms of the legislature and not the asylum seekers, ”said Pfeiffer.
Only employees are charged for additional expenditure
The SPD parliamentary group leader, Karl Lauterbach, considers additional funds from the health fund for the medical care of refugees to be justified. According to the report, he argued that additional costs for refugees should, at least in the short term, be covered by the fund and not through the additional contributions borne by the workers alone. Since a decision by the grand coalition between the Union and the SPD, the statutory cash contribution has been 14.6 percent of gross monthly income, of which half is paid by employer and employee. However, the members have to bear the variable additional contribution, which is determined individually by the respective cash register. In the case of additional expenditure, usually only the additional contributions and thus the burdens on the employees increase. Even some health insurance companies criticize this model. The DAK boss had classified the additional contribution as nonsensical. This leads to senseless price competition and a creeping "withdrawal of employers from financial responsibility". (ad)