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Health insurance experts warn of extra fees to come

DDP/The Local · 11 Dec 2009, 08:27

Published: 11 Dec 2009 08:27 GMT+01:00

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Birgit Fischer, Chairwoman of the board for the GEK, one of Germany’s largest state health insurers, told the paper that a projected loss of some €4 billion in funding in 2010 was looming.

“Our fears have been confirmed, unfortunately,” she said. “The health fund is arranged so that there will be additional premiums at all insurers.”

German law requires that health insurers charge members extra fees when they can’t make do with the money doled out for each customer by the government's central statutory health care fund.

Fischer told the paper she feared this would become the rule rather than exception in the coming year.

She said that the GEK, with 8.5 million customers, would not be among the first wave of insurers to institute new fees, but could not say whether they would do so later in the year.

Meanwhile head of the TK health insurance company Norbert Klusen also told the paper that the shortfall was a major issue.

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“A deficit of €4 billion is not a small thing,” he said, adding that Health Minister Philipp Rösler needed to clarify the situation to doctors, clinics and the pharmaceutical industry.

Germany’s public health care system instituted a new universal premium in January 2009. Set at 15.5 percent of each insured’s gross pay, it has turned out to be insufficient to maintain the budgets of the country's statutory insurers.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:44 December 11, 2009 by Clapoti
Maybe my Math skills are deficient... but everyone I know were paying less than the current 15.5% before (me included) and health insurerers didn't seem to have a problem with money, but now they are all going in the red, I don't understand what happened.

And it's a great news... we're already over taxed on our income, over taxed on goods (19%), we pay a fee for the reconstruction of the East, we need to pay 18 € every month because we have a radio or a TV even if we don't use it to receive German broadcasts... and now we pay a huge amount of money for our health insurance and it might rise in a near future, it's really awesome :(
13:08 December 11, 2009 by nycinhamburg
Clapoti, you are right. I have been here just a year now but I really don't understand of these things. I get why there is a tax for this and that and the other and I understand that it is supposed to go to good social causes but it is getting a bit overboard now. I will never understand the TV, computer, and radio tax we pay every month, and I will not understand why we pay 19% on goods. Coming from the US I did not have health care and I do like that I have it here but It is a lot of money and my friends who are German have told me that even just a few years ago it was much cheaper but that it was a different system back then, now its the way it is now and it is not working very well. I say change it back!
08:38 December 13, 2009 by lond36
of course if there are free uni education ,then there are taxes here on there.Free Uni is paid by tax payers.
10:19 December 15, 2009 by mixxim
Take regular exercise, go swimming, keep off the beer and sausages and you could be healthy (but miserable?) and save the unfortunate insurance companies from having to shell out!
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