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Extra fees for state health insurance seen by 2011

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Extra fees for state health insurance seen by 2011
Photo: DPA
17:24 CET+01:00
A German health insurance official on Monday said additional fees for statutory insurance are likely to be implemented nationwide by 2011 at the latest.

“This year we have a deficit of €7.8 billion among the state health insurers,” CEO of the GKV National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds Doris Pfeiffer told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “I assume that before the end of the year, or at the latest next year, all of the insured will have such extra fees.”

DAK, the country's largest state-backed insurer with more than 6 million customers, confirmed that additional costs would be €8 each month, averaging €100 per year. Seven other insurers - KKH Allianz, BKK Gesundheit, Deutsche BKK, Novitas BKK, BKK für Heilberufe, ktp BKK, and BKK Westfalen-Lippe - also confirmed similar increases to take place within the year.

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

The deficit comes despite an additional €4 billion-infusion of government cash, Pfeiffer said, adding that it was not a result of “management problems,” but increased costs for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies as funding simultaneously decreases.

“It's a problem that all insurers have,” she told the station.

Pfeiffer also encouraged the federal government to stop further price increases for consumers, explaining that public health insurance funding should not be so directly tied to the national economy. She also appealed to lawmakers to reduce the sales tax on pharmaceuticals, which could save insurers up to €2.4 billion.

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