The move means that the millions of people who have statutory health insurance (GKV) in Germany will likely face a significant rise in additional contributions next year.
Health Minister Lauterbach (SPD) said on Tuesday the additional contributions would rise by 0.3 percentage points to 1.6 per cent.
If the increase goes ahead as planned, it could mean top earners with statutory health insurance would have to pay up to €87 extra per year, and average earners (bringing in around €4,000 gross per month) around €72 more, according to a calculation by German daily Bild.
At the moment the cost of statutory public health insurance in Germany amounts to 14.6 percent of gross income. For employees, the employer pays half of the contribution rate.
The health insurance funds can levy additional contributions. The average additional contribution rate is is calculated annually by the Health Ministry and based on the projected expenses of health insurers.
The average is 1.3 percent for 2022, but varies from fund to fund. If the additional contribution now rises to an average of 1.6 per cent, the health insurance overall contribution rate will exceed 16 percent of people’s wages for the first time.
Why are the additional contributions rising?
Lauterbach said statutory health insurance organisations are facing a deficit of about €17 billion next year.
The Health Minister said in a tweet: “Unfortunately, the contribution rate has to increase by 0.3. The deficit is too large: €17 billion.”
He added that pharmaceutical industry was “making the biggest solidarity contribution” because their “turnover increased very strongly”.
Der Beitragssatz muss leider um 0,3 steigen. Das Defizit ist zu groß, 17 Mrd. €. Ein Erbe des Vorgängers, leider. Trotzdem bleibt es beim Versprechen, dass es keine Leistungskürzungen gibt. Den größten Solidarbeitrag leistet die Pharmaindustrie. Ihre Umsätze stiegen sehr stark https://t.co/oQKbkGb9le
— Prof. Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) June 28, 2022
The government hopes that the increase of the additional contribution will generate additional revenue for the health insurance funds of almost €5 billion.
Health insurance organisations will also receive a further federal subsidy – i.e. tax money – of €2 billion, to a total of €16.5 billion, plus a loan of €1 billion.
Meanwhile, there are also plans for a one-off solidarity levy of €1 billion from pharmaceutical companies, and another €3 billion is planned to be saved through efficiency improvements.
“I have essentially inherited this deficit from my predecessor,” Lauterbach said, referring to former Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU).
Lauterbach’s proposal will now be voted on by the ministries. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has already agreed to the plans.
Several health insurance organisations recently increased their contribution rates, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Additional contributions (die) Zusatzbeiträge
Steigen – to increase
Additional revenue – (die) Mehreinnahmen
Statutory public health insurance – (die) Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung
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