Health insurance companies: additional contributions soon unlimited?

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The coalition of the Union and the FDP continues to argue over the additional contribution from the health insurance companies.

(07/05/2010) The dispute over the transformation of the healthcare system continues. While it became known at the weekend that the health insurance contribution rate was increased from 14.9 to 15.5 percent, the FDP now wants to go one step further. Currently, the maximum rate of additional contributions is limited to one percent of an employee's gross wages. The Union is pushing to raise the ceiling on additional contributions to two percent. But the FDP does not go far enough, it wants the additional contributions to be determined solely by the health insurance companies. This means that the health insurers should be able to demand unlimited additional contributions from the insured.

The coalition leaders met last Friday for talks that determined to raise the statutory health insurance premium limit to 15.5 percent. At first it looked as if an agreement had been reached. But now the "Frankfurter Rundschau" wants to find out that the FDP does not go far enough. They no longer ask for the additional contribution from the health insurers to be limited at all. As compensation, low earners should receive a subsidy from tax funds. How this social balance should look like remains open. A new argument seems to be on the way. Because it is surprising that no coalition politician takes a public stance on the new FDP demands. Only government circles say that the question of additional contributions should be raised again next Tuesday. The result should actually be announced on Tuesday.

It is therefore only certain that the increased contribution rate of the health insurance companies will increase to 15.5 percent from 2011. Employees should pay a rate of 8.2 percent and employers 7.3 percent. The increase is expected to generate additional revenues of around six billion euros. Another four billion euros are to be saved in other areas. Where and how this should be done is still open. It is suspected that, among other things, savings will be made on expenditure on doctors and hospitals. If no savings are made, the health care system faces a deficit of around eleven billion euros.

The equal distribution of the increased contribution rate met with violent criticism from employer president Dieter Hundt. Compared to "Bild am Sonntag", Hundt accused the black and yellow coalition of breaking campaign promises. Employers should not be burdened additionally. Rather, only the workers should pay the higher contribution rates. It can therefore be assumed that the equal share of employers will also be discussed again. Whether a final agreement will now be reached on Tuesday can be considered unlikely. The CSU and FDP are too confrontational. (sb)

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Image: Jörg Siebauer /

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