New report: Expensive health insurance companies: Insured persons face even higher contributions if gas is stopped
Berlin Stopping gas imports from Russia could also have serious consequences for the finances of statutory health insurance (GKV). This emerges from a report by the IGES Institute on behalf of the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit, which was presented on Tuesday.
According to this, in the event of an economic slump as a result of a gas embargo, the financial requirements of the GKV would increase by five billion euros in 2023. The authors are assuming a slump in gross domestic product of 2.2 percent. The consequences would be sharply rising contributions for the insured.
According to the report, even without such a scenario, the deficit will be larger in the coming year than previously assumed. Instead of the total of 17 billion euros, the minus will rise to 19 billion euros, the paper says.
The reason is, for example, the already noticeable consequences of the Ukraine war, such as inflation, which is also having an impact on the costs in the health sector. Increasing expenses are also caused by the insurance of the Ukraine refugees.
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Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) now wants to slow down this development by law. Among other things, pharmaceutical companies should pay a levy of one billion euros and health insurance companies should reduce their reserves by four billion euros. A federal subsidy of two billion euros is also planned.
DAK boss: Lauterbach must adapt the draft law
Overall, the measures should bring 13.4 billion euros, the rest would have to be borne by the insured and employers through a higher additional contribution. With the assumed 17 billion euros, the additional contribution would have to increase by 0.3 percentage points.
If the deficit is larger at 19 billion euros, the contribution would have to increase by around 0.4 percentage points, according to the report, and by around 0.7 percentage points in the event of a gas freeze.
DAK boss Andreas Storm therefore asked Minister Lauterbach to adapt the draft law. “Neither does the law effectively limit the increase in contributions, nor does it stabilize the GKV finances in the long term,” he said.
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In particular, recourse to the reserves of the health insurance companies could mean that they would have to increase their additional contributions even further than previously planned. Because numerous funds would fall below the minimum reserve, which is required by law and must be 20 percent of a monthly expenditure.
According to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, wealthy and larger insurance companies in particular could be affected. In the “worst case, it can even lead to over-indebtedness,” says a statement on Lauterbach’s draft law on Tuesday. Therefore, “it cannot be ruled out that the financial stability of the entire system will be impaired or even endangered.”
According to the report, the financial gap will increase to 30 billion euros
Treasurer Storm is also worried about the coming years. According to the report, the financial deficit will increase to 30 billion euros by 2025 without measures – without a gas stop, mind you, the consequences of which could be felt for years to come.
>> Also read here: Because of Lauterbach’s demand for billions: pharmaceutical companies are threatening job cuts
“We need a new start for a sustainable and permanent GKV financial stabilization,” said Storm. An additional draft law for the period from 2024 must follow, which will reform cash register finances in the long term. Minister Lauterbach had announced that he wanted to convene an expert commission for further financial reform. The presentation of the results is planned for March next year.
The contributors will not be able to close these gaps again for the most part, since the increases in contributions in the social systems – health insurance contributions, nursing care and unemployment insurance together – will already be close to one percentage point in the coming year.
Storm is therefore demanding – like other health insurance funds – that the traffic light government, as promised in the coalition agreement, finances the contributions for Hartz IV recipients to cover their costs. This would relieve the coffers by up to ten billion euros.
In addition, a reduction in VAT on pharmaceuticals is necessary, which would relieve the health insurance funds by a further five billion euros. “Both measures are structural reforms that will have a medium to long-term impact,” Storm said.
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