Germany reports rising number of people without health insurance

Germany reports rising number of people without health insurance
Typical German health insurance cards. Photo: DPA
There is a growing number of people in Germany without health insurance, according to new data from Germany’s Statistical Office.

Last year there were 143,000 people without health insurance in Germany, up from 79,000 in 2015.

A full 90 percent of people in Germany are covered by public health insurance, according to the Germany Medical Association. 

A majority receive it from their employers, although freelancers, students and those making over a certain amount each month often opt out of the public system in favour of private insurance.

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While having health insurance has been a legal requirement in Germany since January 1, 2009, a number of residents still are not covered.

In western Germany, a total of 117,000 people did not have insurance at the last count, whereas the figure stands at 26,000 in eastern Germany. 

Anyone in Germany who does not have health insurance faces fines of up to 14 months of contributions (at a maximum of €639.38 per month)

Right to medical care

Sabine Zimmerman, a politician from Germany’s Die Linke (Left), called on the federal government to guarantee the right to medical care. 

She proposed the immediate establishment of a fund to finance the treatment of people in Germany without health insurance. 

Yet amid the current coronavirus crisis, pooling extra funds could be a challenge.

Due to the virus, among other things, public health insurers are heading for a deficit of €14.1 to €14.6 billion this year, according to a report in the Tagesspiegel.  

The reason, according to the report, is declining income from contributions combined with significantly rising costs.

The treatment of coronavirus-infected patients is estimated at an additional €1.3 billion for the current year. 

Statutory health insurance funds have also paid €3.3 billion for higher care fees, and so far €1.6 billion for coronavirus tests.

READ ALSO: Germany to expand coronavirus testing for people without symptoms


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