Berlin In view of the hospital reform by Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), top representatives of statutory health insurance (GKV) warn against further increases in contributions. It is “incomprehensible if the already underfunded health insurance companies are now also supposed to plug the hospitals’ financial gaps,” said DAK boss Andreas Storm to the Handelsblatt. “The bottom line is that contributors have to foot the bill by increasing contributions in 2024 and beyond.”
The background is that the hospital reform plans provide, among other things, for the health insurance companies to share in the costs of a transformation fund for hospitals.
The chairman of the Association of Substitute Funds (vdek), Uwe Klemens, therefore expects “new billions in expenditure” for the health insurance companies. “This inevitably leads to a larger deficit and would necessitate even larger jumps in contributions if there are no cuts in benefits or new federal funds in return,” Klemens told the Handelsblatt.
The Minister of Health must “finally create clarity about the costs of the hospital reform”. In addition to DAK, the vdek also includes Techniker Krankenkasse and Barmer.
For 2024, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds already expects a funding gap of 3.5 billion to seven billion euros. This does not include the costs of the hospital reform. Without intervention, this would mean a higher additional contribution of 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points.
Lauterbach announced higher contributions for 2024
Lauterbach had therefore announced that the contribution rate would increase in the coming year. He ruled out cuts in benefits, and further federal funds are not to be expected. This year, the value had already risen from an average of 1.3 to 1.6 percent. Employees and employers share the burden.
Each insurance company can determine the additional contribution itself, depending on its financial situation. Klemens called this development “poison for the coffers, since it forces ruinous competition”. Already this year, some funds would not have increased their additional contributions, although this would have been indicated. “That’s why I think raising the general contribution rate is the better way,” he said.
This is currently 14.6 percent. Bettina am Orde, managing director of the Knappschaft health insurance company, made a similar statement. An increase in the additional contribution “again makes the funds responsible for measures for which they are not responsible,” she said.
DAK boss Storm also spoke out in favor of this. That would be “more honest about politics”. The health insurance representatives are also unanimously calling on the federal government to keep the promises made in the coalition agreement and, for example, to contribute more to the costs of citizen income in order to reduce health insurance spending. Another demand is to reduce VAT on pharmaceuticals.
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