• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Public health insurers score record profits

The Local · 5 Mar 2012, 15:25

Published: 05 Mar 2012 15:25 GMT+01:00

The end of year results, published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung based on Health Ministry figures, are all the more surprising because insurers made a loss of €390 million in 2010.

According to the insurers, the surplus is down to the fact that expense estimates were too high, and so state allocations were higher than expected. Caps on the cost of medication, imposed in 2010, helped to lower expenses too.

On top of this, Germany’s healthy employment figures and rising wages have also increased the insurers’ income. Germany never had as many people contributing to the public health insurance system as in 2011, a trend that observers say could continue in 2012, depending on economic development.

The Techniker Krankenkasse, Germany’s second biggest public insurer, registered the biggest profits, making €962 million last year. But market leader Barmer/GEK’s profits actually shrank last year, with its surplus down from €411 million to €297 million.

The figures are likely to re-ignite the debate about Germany’s health insurance contributions. Hospitals want the government to use the surplus to spare them in the latest budget cuts, but Health Minister Daniel Bahr says the insurers should pay money back to contributors.

Others want the €10 quarterly fee for visiting a doctor to be scrapped, while Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, under pressure to balance Germany’s books, would prefer to use the high surpluses as an occasion to cut the €14 billion tax subsidy to public health insurers.

The insurers, meanwhile, point out that the cost of healthcare is continuing to rise and that any subsidy-saving measures could put them in a precarious financial position in the future.

Story continues below…

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:36 March 5, 2012 by William Thirteen
it does seem prudent to save the extra cash for a rainy day. With our aging population and uncertain economic climate in the coming decade, keeping a bit'o'cash in the cookie jar seems wise.

But what about this €14 billion subsidy? and of course, i wouldn't mind getting rid of the €10 quarterly charge either. i am always annoyed when i have to visit the doc near the end of the quarter!
18:59 March 5, 2012 by gtappend
The trouble is that there's no real reward these days for those that did well. Before the Gesundheitsfond the TKK would have been able to use their surplus to reduce their premiums or increase the amount "extras" that they will cover in the future. Now they don't have a choice.

@William you should try going right at the end of the quarter... ie. the last day.

It's really frustration to be in A+E on New Year's Eve, pay 10EUR, be seen by the first doctor and then referred to a specialist on New Year's Day, only to be told that that's a separate quarter and you need to pay again!
19:53 March 5, 2012 by Englishted
What every else they do they should stop spending so much money on swanky new office buildings as they seem do in every city I visit.
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,614
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd