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Parliament passes health insurance premium hikes

The Local · 12 Nov 2010, 14:15

Published: 12 Nov 2010 14:15 GMT+01:00

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Under the changes, the rate of health insurance contributions – which are split between employees and their employers – will rise from 14.9 percent of the worker’s wages to 15.5 percent, starting in January.

The worker’s share will rise from 7.9 percent to 8.2 percent and the employer’s share from 7 percent to a fixed 7.3 percent.

In total, that hike will bring in an extra €6 billion per year.

The country’s some 70 million publicly insured will also be faced with other increases, because statutory health insurers – who insure nine out of 10 Germans – will also be allowed to charge “additional payments,” called Zusatzbeitrage. These will be flat fees per insured but the needy can qualify for subsidies to offset them.

Health Minister Philipp Rösler, a member of the pro-market Free Democrats, defended the reforms against heated criticism from the opposition, which called the changes a socially unjust step towards completely privatised healthcare.

But Rösler said the extra burden is spread evenly and will help cover an expected €9-billion deficit in the system, with low-income earners protected by government funding.

“That is not less, but more solidarity,” he said. “The only group that we are not burdening are those who are actually sick.”

Paying for the rising cost of healthcare with the “additional payments” would insure that non-wage labour costs don’t increase, he said.

“That is our contribution to growth and employment,” Rösler explained.

But unions and social organisations also criticised the healthcare reform.

Employers' federation head Dieter Hundt said businesses would be burdened with an additional €2 billion in extra contributions toward employee health insurance.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile board member of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) Annelie Buntenbach accused Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition of making policies that work against the people.

“It is the height of injustice that the 70 million insured now have to pay for all cost increases themselves,” she said.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:16 November 12, 2010 by toemag
Yep, but please don't forget they have been telling us that we can afford it because the recession is over and we are recovering well :-p
18:53 November 12, 2010 by Englishted
Free Democrats, remember the name because I don't think we will hear of them again after the next election.
19:09 November 12, 2010 by Drewsky
Do any Germans feel like moving to the USA for THEIR great health care ...?
20:05 November 12, 2010 by proclusian
I think most Americans would love to pay only 8.2 percent of wages for health care which is, statistically speaking (in terms of success of treatment) nearly the equal of that in the U.S.
20:22 November 12, 2010 by slawek
Technically the rise is necessary only because there was no rise in income for the past 20 years in whole Germany. Rising by percentage is a dangerous game. Alternatively all employers could have simply given a rise of 4 percent in income to all Germans, which of course isn't going to happen. Through this reform the government basically admits the wages are too low and instead of focusing their policy on increasing them they capitulate.
12:09 November 13, 2010 by raandy
Maybe we could swap the German system for Obama Care.
14:28 November 14, 2010 by Dudaryk5626
I would love to pay only 8.2% of my wages and only 5-10 Euro for certain prescriptions. In the US I pay $150 a month, must spend $3000 of my own BEFORE the insurance kicks in. 20% of all doctor visits (average office visit $200) and $50 for a 30 day prescription. Compared to Germany this is highway robbery & my insurance is considered cheap.
10:21 January 11, 2011 by JordinS
We are all concerned about our health that's why we try everything just to be healthy and avoid getting sick. Being hospitalized is so stressing and we thingk of the expenses waiting for us before we get discharged. Blue Shield of California has intends to hike health care insurance premiums of the past to an even higher status. The Los Angeles Times reports that Blue Shield has shocked California policyholders with a proposal to institute insurance premium hikes as high as 59 percent on March 1. I read this here: Blue Shield of California considers 59 percent gouging of customers. Many thousands of customers would be impacted by the rate change. This hike without any doubt will send many Blue Shield customers running for payday loans in order to pay their premiums.
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