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Many seek switch to public health insurance

The Local · 8 Jan 2012, 13:37

Published: 08 Jan 2012 13:37 GMT+01:00

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Many private health insurance plans pushed through hefty premium increases at the beginning of the year and that's behind the move to switch, the magazine said.

“We’ve gotten increased telephone inquiries from those privately insured who want to come to the AOK,” Wilfried Jacobs, the head of the AOK in Rheinland/Hamburg, told the magazine. The AOK, with 15 regional branches and some 24 million members, is Germany’s largest public health insurance organisation. The magazine said other public health insurers have received similar inquiries.

But it’s not so easy to switch once you’ve opted for private insurance. German law only allows people to change from public to private in exceptional situations.

These include when someone has lost their job. You can also switch if you are an employee whose salary falls below the € 45,900 level. Workers who used to be self-employed but now have a full-time position with a similar salary may also change.

But a public health organization manager said, “There are tricks that we can use to help private patients, providing the employer cooperates.”

The Barmer GEK public health organization reported that 27,600 people switched from private competitors in 2011 – nine percent more than in 2010.

Story continues below…

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:17 January 8, 2012 by pepsionice
Just to point out the obvious here....again....hospital/doctor costs continue to escalate (doesn't matter if we talk US or Germany). And the state public policies? They will edge up as well....with fees or various ways to cover the escalation of costs. Bluntly, nothing has yet to slow down this spiral of medical costs. That might be something that we all should start to look at and grasp for our own future.
18:15 January 8, 2012 by JimofVa
Medicine is capable of so much more than in the past. It is a problem, but other than the lawyers who get rich suing drs. the higher cost is the direct result of greater effectiveness. Medical care used to be free. We can all go back to that.

After all, as long as you're not picky, leeches are pretty easy to come by:).
09:57 January 9, 2012 by jg.
Some may find it worthwhile to look abroad for health insurance. The German insurers have been lobbying to ban all foreign health insurers but they seem to have lost this battle, because of single market rules. Fundamentally, health insurance does not have to be from a German company but it does have to meet certain criteria. I believe there have been extensive discussions about this on ToyTown.
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