Health minister wants to force health insurers to compete more closely

Hermann Grohe wants to encourage health insurers to be more competitive with the planned healthcare reform. However, the non-wage labor costs are to remain stable, the health minister has announced. Companies will therefore neither be burdened nor relieved. While the government wants to increase the amount to be paid by health insurance fund members Abolish special contribution of 0.9 percent of income , However, in its place, health insurers are expected to again in 2015 Additional contributions be allowed to collect to close the resulting gap of 11 billion euros. These new additional contributions must be paid by employees alone.

The monthly health insurance contribution is to be reduced from 15.5 to 14.6 percent, employees and employers each pay half. If the insurance companies raise the contribution, the insured "have the right to look for a cheaper offer," said Grohe. Health insurance funds that have to charge an additional contribution due to their financial situation run the risk of losing members. This is expressly desired by politicians and is intended to more Competition bring.

Some health insurers are going on the offensive and pouring Bonuses to the insured from. In the next few days, the health insurance company hkk will be sending dividend checks for 2013 of up to 100 euros to around 260.000 members – a total of around 24.5 million euros. As the only nationwide elective fund, it is thus paying back to its members for the fifth time in a row a large part of the annual surplus generated. For 2014, hkk members will receive an additional 100 euros, which will be paid out in spring 2015. Even new members who have been insured until 1. December 2014 switch to hkk, will receive the full amount.

Low-income earners could benefit from the reform, since the entire contribution is again based on income and the flat rate, which is the same for everyone, is eliminated. The fact that the state expects things to become more expensive overall is shown by the fact that it has already budgeted more money for the health insurance contributions of the unemployed – for whom it pays the additional contributions, reports the Abendzeitung Munchen.

The Opposition Considers the government's plans for healthcare reform to be immature. "As with pensions, it is a matter of reaching into the pockets of contributors rather than taxpayers," explained Green Party politician Maria Klein-Schmeink. In 2014 and 2015, the health insurance system is to receive six billion euros less from the federal budget than initially planned, he says. "The money will be missing when it comes to financing foreseeable cost increases."Even higher federal subsidies planned for 2017 would no longer make up for this gap.

The costs of the reforms, on the other hand, will be passed on to the insured in the long term. "Above all, the Middle employee sector will be particularly affected," said Harald Weinberg, a health expert from the Left Party, in Berlin. The health insurance funds, on the other hand, welcome the reform plans. "This reform is bureaucracy reduction in action," said the chairwoman of the GKV-Spitzenverband, Doris Pfeiffer.

Another reform point is the Care of relatives , to be subsidized with a wage replacement benefit starting next year. There is to be a 10-day paid leave from work for cases where care for a relative has to be organized at short notice. This can be compared with children's sick pay. If employees have to care for a sick child, they get 70 percent of previous gross earnings for a maximum of 10 days and a maximum of 90 percent of net earnings.

Further reform steps in long-term care insurance are still in the works. Day, short-term and preventive care could be combined. This should make the help for families more flexible.

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