• Germany's news in English

Insurers say hospitals overcharge €1.5 billion

The Local · 19 Aug 2011, 07:12

Published: 19 Aug 2011 07:12 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The association of statutory insurance companies, GKV-Spitzenverband, said an audit showed that nearly half of all invoices submitted for reimbursement had mistakes in them.

“Last year, the proportion of hospital bills that we found contained errors, was higher than ever,” said Johann-Magnus von Stackelberg, from the Spitzenverband. He said it was possible the errors were now being discovered more often because insurance companies were getting more aggressive or because the hospitals were getting worse at submitting their bills.

“But the result is the same – far too many bills are wrong,” he said. A total overcharging of health insurance payers to the tune of up to €1.5 billion was not acceptable, he said. The insurers pay around €59 billion for inpatient care a year.

Incorrect medical bills have been a concern in Germany for years, with the Federal Audit Office even complaining about the problem this spring.

Examples of overcharging include a patient with a severe fungal infection whose hospital billed for an expensive drug when he was actually given one that cost €57,000 less.

In another case, an 82-year-old patient with a pelvic fracture was reported to have been given treatment that he never actually received, a discovery which saved insurance companies €11,700.

Stackelberg called for politicians to ensure, “that hospitals finally have a real incentive to bill properly.” Each incorrect bill should attract a fine of €300 per bill he suggested.

This last proposal was rejected by the German Hospital Federation (DKG) whose manager Georg Baum said the fact was that 96 percent of all cases regarding bills remained as they were despite intensive checks. “The questioned bills are overwhelmingly in cases of clashing medical opinion,” he said.

Story continues below…

The effective rate of repayment was less than one percent, he said. The idea that the questioned payments adding up to €1.5 billion could be simply due to erroneous billing was “highly dubious”, he said.

The Local/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd