No additional contribution to DAK Gesundheit?

German employee health insurance (DAK) defends itself against the criticism of competitors

Will there be no additional contribution to the newly merged DAK Gesundheit from April 2011? At any rate, Herbert Rebscher, chairman of the DAK board and denied media reports, claim that the federal association of the replacement fund would be against the abolition of the additional contribution. Rather, competing funds would currently try to “damage the good reputation of the DAK”. Because at the latest from the time of abolition, it would no longer be so easy for the competition to "recruit price-sensitive members", as stated in a DAK press release.

The Federal Insurance Office has not yet given its consent
As of January 1st, 2011, the German employee health insurance (DAK) merged with the company health insurance company BKK Gesundheit. As of this date, both health insurance funds form a joint statutory health insurance company entitled "DAK Gesundheit". Both health insurance companies currently charge an additional contribution of eight euros per month from their members. In April 2012 at the latest, the newly merged DAK Gesundheit wants to abolish the additional contribution. The announcement has triggered numerous criticisms in the checkout industry. The Federal Insurance Office (BVA) as the highest cash supervisory authority had also expressed clear concerns. In a letter to the DAK boss Herbert Rebscher, the BVA criticized the public announcement of the abolition of additional contributions. When the future financial concept was presented, the abolition of the additional contribution was “rated as a critical point”, as numerous media cite the BVA letter. It has not yet been finally clarified whether the BVA gives its approval. Accordingly, it is unclear whether the additional contribution is unnecessary as an additional source of income and whether the allocations from the health fund are sufficient in the future.

Maximilian Gassner, BVA chairman, was particularly snubbed by the fact that the DAK had already publicly announced its plans. The authority had not initiated a public correction in order not to "promote a discussion in the media that could possibly be harmful to their health insurers", as stated in the letter from the supervisory authority to the DAK. Nevertheless, the cover letter was made public and is the boss of other health insurers campaigned against the project.

DAK is sticking to the project
In the public debate, the DAK is confident and determined to abolish the additional contribution. In a statement, the board of directors complained about attempts by individual competing funds to obviously prevent the abolition of the additional contribution. Various board members had snubbed the fact that the cancellation would "significantly burden DAK Gesundheit financially by the end of 2012". In the media it was wrongly reported in some cases that the association of replacement funds had voiced the financial worries. For Rebscher, the competition's approach is a “one-time process” in the history of the DAK. Because no other health insurance company has a real insight into the financial situation of the health insurance company. After all, the competition is about "weakening the DAK in competition". With the cancellation of the additional contribution, DAK Gesundheit will report back as "a strong competitor in the market". According to the DAK boss, the attempt by the head of the cash register was a "transparent attempt to damage the good reputation of the DAK". Because “the DAK had often won first place in the checkout of consumer media despite the additional contribution to services. With the deletion of the additional contribution, price-sensitive members can no longer be poached so easily, ”says Rebscher. Even legal means should now be used, one examines "legal steps against the signers of the letter" to initiate.

Cash register bosses are concerned about financial consequences
According to the news magazine "Der Spiegel", several treasury officers at BVA had complained that the termination of the additional contribution could drive the newly merged DAK into an imbalance. With such a cash register size, the effects of a closure would be catastrophic. The DAK, on ​​the other hand, believes that an annual surplus of around 330 million euros is expected by the end of 2011. The financial situation is accordingly stable, so that the deletion is a logical consequence.

The merger of DAK and BKK Gesundheit creates the third largest national health insurance fund in Germany. As of 2012, around 6.6 million people will have health insurance at DAK Gesundheit. The merger is intended to develop a “new business model” in which the advantages of a nationwide health insurance company are combined with those of a company health insurance company. (sb)

Read on:
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DAK & BKK Gesundheit becomes DAK Gesundheit
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Image: Claudia Hautumm /

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