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Top-up health fee dodgers face hefty fines

The Local · 18 Aug 2010, 12:06

Published: 18 Aug 2010 12:06 GMT+02:00

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Daily Rheinische Post reported that a government advisory panel is discussing the hefty fines as a way of enforcing the Zusatzbeiträge or extra fees, which statutory health insurers are allowed to charge customers when they can’t make do with the money doled out for each customer by the government's central statutory health fund.

In early 2010, more than a dozen health insurers began charging their members such fees, which top out at €37.50 per month.

A spokesman for the Health Ministry confirmed that a regulation was being discussed “which ensures that additional payments will be paid,” Rheinische Post reported.

The statutory health insurance industry would thereby be protected against people disinclined to pay the additional payments.

“This will therefore insure that the honest are not the suckers,” said the spokesman.

While the regular health insurance contributions are taken directly from a worker's salary by their employer, this cannot be done in the case of extra fees for data privacy reasons. Instead, an employee must make their own extra payments.

A plan to have employers deduct the extra payments directly from people’s salaries if they default had been abandoned, a participant in the discussions told the paper.

“That’s not possible for data protection reasons. The employers are allowed to find out who isn’t paying,” the source said.

The debate follows a report this week in daily Bild that about 1 million people have refused to pay additional fees levied by statutory health insurers this year to fill budgetary shortfalls.

Story continues below…

At one insurer, BKK, some 30 percent of members had ignored demands to pay the additional charge.

Andrea Nahles, secretary general of the centre-left Social Democrats, said it was deeply unfair if rising health care costs in the future were borne solely by people insured by statutory insurers, while employers and the privately insured escaped extra burdens.

At the same time, she described as “ludicrous” the notion of making employers and pension schemes the collectors of the additional payments.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:55 August 19, 2010 by 9900lawre
The privately insured escaped extra burdens? Don't they pay EXTRA for preferencial service?

Your car insurance doesn't phone you up half way throught the year to say your payments have increased because the insurance companies costs have increased?

A cost is a cost, thats the cost you agree and with no extra add ons when they feel like it. It should be reviewed and agreed annualy like everything else.
09:01 August 21, 2010 by toemag
This is just so German, the customers can't afford the top up so they don't pay it, but they will be expected to pay the fine and then balance the debt with their medical insurers, great idea, more rope.
14:37 August 21, 2010 by gtappend
¦quot;That¦#39;s not possible for data protection reasons. The employers are allowed to find out who isn¦#39;t paying".

So if they don't pay the fine and get taken the court, the court then orders money to be deducted from their next wage payment (Lohnpfändung), are they STILL not allowed to tell the employers? Somehow that doesn't work...

The employer already knows which Krankenkasse the employees belong to.
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