No practice fee: five euros per visit to the doctor?

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Will the insured be required to pay 5 euros per visit to the doctor in the near future?

Like a study by the health insurance company Barmer-Gek. revealed, the German citizens go to the doctor more and more often. According to the Barmer study, a resident doctor in Germany treats around 45 patients per day and has just eight minutes for treatment and diagnosis per patient. According to the study, doctors in Germany have twice as many patient contacts in an international comparison. In 2004, German citizens went to the doctor 16.4 times. In 2009, Germans went to the doctor 18.1 times a year. The practice fee of 10 euros per quarter was among other things introduced to minimize "unnecessary visits to the doctor". But the opposite was the case, as the Barmer study shows. Obviously, it has not been possible to avoid expensive double examinations and to promote qualified doctor visits.

Now voices are getting louder in favor of moving away from the practice fee. According to the picture, health economist Thomas Drabinski from the Institute for Microdata Analysis is in favor of abolishing the practice fee. Drabinski said: "The practice fee has failed. It has no deterrent effect. Unnecessary doctor visits could not be limited as hoped."

Instead of the practice fee, there are suggestions that require a fee of between 2.50 and 5 euros per doctor contact. Alternatively, additional payments should be made depending on the amount of the treatment costs.

The health expert of the SPD, Karl Lauterbach, advocates a complete cancellation of the practice fees. The elimination of practice fees could be offset by savings on overpriced drugs. In addition, a general practitioner obligation should be introduced for a patient's first visit to the doctor, according to Lauterbach.

Around 10 million people with statutory health insurance in Germany will have to make additional contributions for their health insurance this quarter. According to media reports, many health insurance companies are planning to increase their insurance premiums.

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