Should unvaccinated people in Germany face higher health insurance costs?

Should unvaccinated people in Germany face higher health insurance costs?
A sign showing where people can get vaccinated in Empelde. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Julian Stratenschulte
The boss of a large German insurance company has suggested that unvaccinated people could face higher insurance rates than the vaccinated in future.

The chairman of R+V Insurance, Norbert Rollinger, said he could envisage health insurance organisations introducing different tariffs for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

“After all, these are costs incurred by the community: if someone ends up in intensive care because of Corona, that is significantly more expensive than a vaccination,” Rollinger said in an interview with t-online. “Health insurers are already allowed to differentiate between smokers and non-smokers when it comes to rates.

“As an insurance industry, sooner or later we will have to think about possibly differentiating rates based on vaccination status,” Rollinger continued. “When that will happen depends on how long the silent majority of vaccinated people will allow themselves to be walked all over by the stubborn vaccination refusers.”

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Rollinger said he has no sympathy for those eligible to be vaccinated who choose not to get their shots. 

“I’m surprised that we have vaccination fatigue,” he said. “The unvaccinated should be afraid of the fourth wave. On the other hand, I think another lockdown is unrealistic. The people who get vaccinated won’t put up with us shutting down the country again. There is a cure for the pandemic: the Covid vaccine. We should all get vaccinated out of solidarity with our fellow human beings.”

READ ALSO: What employees in Germany should know about quarantine compensation

He said it was a very “difficult issue”, adding: “Let me make it clear: people who refuse to get vaccinated are behaving in a socially harmful way – unless there are good medical reasons against vaccination in individual cases.

“And the constant pandemic discussion, the crisis mode, distracts us from the important issues – climate crisis, digitalisation, old-age provision. In my opinion, low-threshold offers are needed to reach more people for vaccination. After all, not every unvaccinated person is a vaccination refuser. And we shouldn’t leave the field to fake news in social media. If that is not enough, I can certainly understand the discussion (about higher rates for unvaccinated people).”

Rollinger said the insurance industry has been severely challenged in recent months due to the pandemic. With 8.9 million customers, R+V, headquartered in Wiesbaden, is one of Germany’s largest insurers.   

The country has been desperately trying to urge more people to get vaccinated ahead of the winter months. 

As of Tuesday, about 63.3 percent of the German population were fully vaccinated, while 67.3 percent had been given at least one dose. 

In the 18-59 age group, around 69 percent of people are fully vaccinated, while 83.8 percent of over-60s are.

Meanwhile, care representative in the federal Government, Andreas Westerfellhaus, spoke out Tuesday against mandatory Covid jabs for care workers. 

He said discussing it at this time was “neither meaningful nor necessary”.

Westerfellhaus called for more education and easy access to vaccinations instead. 

However, he said, it is right for employers to be allowed to ask whether someone had been vaccinated, so that unvaccinated staff could no longer have direct contact with people in need of care.

Vocabulary 

Different rates – (die) unterschiedliche Tarife

Vaccine refusers/anti-vaxxers – (die) Impfverweigerer 

To walk all over – auf der Nase herumtanzen (literally translated to ‘dance around on someone’s nose’)

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


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