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Unions call for end to private health insurance

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Unions call for end to private health insurance
Photo: DPA
12:25 CET+01:00
Germany's trade unions are calling for the abolition of private health insurance and for all workers – including public servants and the self-employed – to be gradually brought into a consolidated public system.

According to a report in daily Berliner Zeitung, the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) has calculated that the overhaul would shave 2.5 percentage points from the 15.5 percent of gross income that workers are set to pay from next year for statutory health insurance.

The paper reported Monday that a DGB health insurance reform committee would recommend gradually bringing public servants and self-employed people into the state system, to which the overwhelming majority of Germans already belong.

It would also call for high income-earners to pay a higher share and for people's investment and rental incomes to be taken into account when calculating their insurance premiums.

The committee was due to release its recommendations on Monday, the paper wrote.

Among other things, it will call for the abolition of private health insurance. In 2008, an estimated 8.6 million people had this type of coverage. From a set future date, all people born in Germany or taking up a job in Germany should be covered only by statutory health insurance.

Furthermore, the income rate at which contributions are capped should be raised from the present €3,750 per month to €5,500. Incomes above the new limit should be slapped with a surcharge of about three percent.

The commission also called for parity to be re-established between workers and employers, meaning that the recently introduced additional contribution of 0.9 percent for workers be scrapped.

Workers' contribution rates, instead of rising from the current 7.9 percent to 8.2 percent next year, would instead drop to 7.75 percent. The employer's contribution, meanwhile, would rise from the present 7 percent to 7.75 percent, instead of rising only to 7.3 percent as is currently planned.

DAPD/The Local/dw

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