Fitness data: opportunities and risks for customer and insurance

They measure steps, calculate calories burned and collect lots of individual data: Fitness wristbands (wearables) or fitness apps are in vogue. The use of the data flood could turn the insurance market upside down and have consequences for consumers. However, there are still a lot of question marks.

A good year ago, the Generali insurance group in Germany took the first step toward combining a healthy lifestyle with a reward system for occupational disability and term life insurance. First, the health status of the insured is determined. Then he collects points for the discount account by jogging or buying healthy foods. The data is transmitted to a Generali subsidiary via fitness wristband or point-of-sale computer, according to dpa.

The company advertises that the premium for occupational disability insurance or term life insurance can drop by 16 percent as a result, ideally. "There is definitely a lot of interest from customers," says a Generali spokesperson. The company wants to give exact figures at the end of the year.


Out for free corona tests: these rules now apply

A quick day off – and then off to the mall or the movies? As of today, Monday, that will be expensive: those who are neither vaccinated nor recovering will still need Quick tests – must reach for it however now into the bag. And possibly also accept significantly longer distances. Because: With the end of the free citizen tests also the offer at test places is likely to reduce clearly.

The prere is on. The end for the state Free offer should not only save costs, but also convince the unvaccinated to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Finally, immunization is free – testing costs, on the other hand, will be based on demand and are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Corona tests to be charged as of this Monday

"Everyone for whom it is recommended and who wants to, could now be vaccinated. We have kept this promise. Therefore, citizen tests will be free from Monday only for those for whom there is no recommended vaccination," said Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn this editorial office. That are in particular children and young people.


Pharmaceutical companies are breaking new ground on drug pricing

The U.S. presidential election has brought new relevance to an irritant topic: Price excesses for medicines are an excellent way to raise the profile of a company. The fight against "profiteering" in the pharmaceutical sector was written on the banner of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton more than a year ago. Her Republican opponent Donald Trump also picked up on the theme. The industry now needs to rethink and is looking for new approaches to pricing. "The old way of pricing our drugs based on ampoules or milligrams is really no longer appropriate in the current environment. We need more flexible solutions," says Jens Gruger, Head of Global Pricing Market Access at Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche.

Until now, there have been few limits to what pharmaceutical companies can charge for their drugs in the United States. In some cases, this led to astronomically high prices and outright scandals – for example, when it became known at what a premium the drug EpiPen for the treatment of allergic shocks from Mylan was sold, or the drug Daraprim against toxoplasmosis from Turing Pharmaceuticals. Debt-ridden governments, health insurers and patients have been questioning the pricing practices of pharmaceutical companies for some time now. Health systems are reaching their limits, partly because therapies are becoming more complex. Especially in cancer treatment, which is already expensive, two or more drugs are often used at the same time.

No matter who moves into the White House as president, the pharmaceutical industry will be more scrutinized when it comes to pricing in the future. However, stricter rules are likely to make the industry's revenues less abundant. The U.S. is by far the most important market for the one-trillion-dollar industry – it generates 40 percent of its sales there. And the groups earn well, in the operational business remain fast once 30 per cent or more of the conversion. This is difficult to reconcile with the argument that high prices are necessary to fund expensive research and keep reserves for failures.


Baby said to have been cured of aids

US doctors say they have succeeded in curing a baby infected with HIV. Virologists presented the case at a professional congress in Atlanta in the US state of Georgia. The HI virus had not completely disappeared from the body of the child. However, he said, the amount of viruses is now so small that the child's immune system can control them on its own. Supportive treatment was no longer needed. "You can consider this case that we've seen as close to a cure, if not a cure," Die Welt quotes Anthony Fauci, immunologist at the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH).

The HI virus had been detected in the child's mother only when she was already in labor. Doctors at the University of Mississippi began antiretroviral therapy on the infant just 30 hours after birth – even though an infection with HIV had not yet been confirmed. Early treatment stopped the disease before the virus could form dormant cells, The World quotes Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins Children's Center as saying. HI viruses can settle in the lymph nodes and remain inactive there for years as dormant cells. If treatment is discontinued because no active pathogens are detected in the blood, it is possible for the viruses to "wake up" again and spread.

This is why experts react skeptically to the sensational news from the U.S. "We have observed so many patients who have received highly active antiretroviral treatment – including children – and we have never seen a cure," says Bernhard Ruf, an AIDS expert at Klinikum St. Georg in Leipzig in an interview with the Suddeutsche Zeitung. He said it should not be believed that therapy can completely destroy the virus and that an infected person can eventually stop taking their medication. "For me, the state of knowledge is still: once HIV – always HIV, once treatment – lifelong treatment," Ruf says.


Unemployment harms partner's psyche

Unemployment harms not only one's own psyche, but to an almost equal extent that of one's partner, according to a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Whether the husband or wife loses his or her job does not make much difference.

"Both partners suffer significantly. However, since calculations have so far only taken into account the negative consequences for the unemployed person himself, but not for his partner, the costs incurred in the health care system are systematically underestimated," says DIW health expert Jan Marcus.

People who lose their jobs live unhealthier lives, smoke more often, divorce more often and die earlier. Many scientific studies have shown that. Almost all of these studies, however, focus on the unemployed person himself and not on his partner living with him in the same household.


Bonus for health: daimler pays premium for attendance

According to dpa-AFX, the carmaker Daimler pays employees a bonus if they are rarely sick, according to a new company agreement. Daimler and the works council agreed on an attendance bonus of a maximum of 200 euros gross per year. The full bonus is paid to employees who have not been unable to work for a single day within a year. Accordingly, it is distributed over a maximum of 50 euros per quarter. In the industry, this action is uncharted territory.

The bonus is part of a larger employee health agreement. In addition, there is a voluntary and free health check for all employees, which is intended, for example, to help with the early detection of health risks.

Daimler's works council head Michael Brecht said, "In weighing the interests, we ultimately decided to accept the attendance bonus for a limited period for the introduction of the health check. We managed to get it automatically phased out after two years, but the health check remains." He added: "We also ame that the sums involved will not cause anyone to drag themselves into the store ill."


Organ donor numbers fall to lowest level in 20 years

The number of organ donors in Germany reached a new low in 2017. According to statistics from the German Foundation for Organ Transplantation (DSO), there were only 797 donors, 60 fewer than in the previous year. This is the lowest level in 20 years, the foundation announced. Compared with other European countries, Germany is in a very poor position.

"Unfortunately, we will slip below the ten donors per million population mark for the first time ever. In 2017, there were 9.7," the dpa quotes Axel Rahmel, Medical Director of the DSO. In the history of the foundation, this has never happened before, not counting the early years of organ donation more than 30 years ago. "In an international comparison, Germany has so far been in the lower midfield. Now we are almost behind all other Western European countries in comparison. This is a dramatic development." The DSO figures refer to the 10. January registered organs for 2017 without living donations.

Rahmel sees the reasons for the decline in donor numbers in Germany less in the lack of willingness of the population. One cause, he says, is the enormous compression of services in clinics. It would also like to see improvements in the organization of the approximately 1250 clinics in Germany that are part of the organ donation system. In 2017, for example, Bavaria released transplantation officers for their duties for the first time. Organ donor numbers in Bavaria rose by 18 percent in 2017, the highest figure among all German states, he said.


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.


Medical care meets with criticism from germans

Three quarters of Germans are satisfied with their medical care, according to a study. In a survey of 1,000 citizens conducted by the auditing and consulting firm PwC and available to Reuters, 19 percent of respondents said they were "very satisfied" with the supply, while 56 percent were "somewhat satisfied.". Among privately insured even almost 90 percent consider medical care good. East Germans tend to be more dissatisfied with medical services than West Germans.

Of those surveyed, 58 percent wanted faster appointments with specialists. 47 percent see among the greatest need for action in securing medical care in rural areas. 43 percent of those surveyed see the recruitment and retention of nursing staff as a top priority. 30 percent emphasize safeguarding even smaller hospitals in rural regions. Digitization ranks only for 12 percent among the three fields with the greatest prere to act. "Our analysis shows that the major problems of the healthcare system have long since reached the insured," said PwC healthcare expert Michael Burkhart.

Just under half (46 percent) of those surveyed are in favor of a citizens' insurance scheme, as the SPD and the Greens want to introduce. 16 percent are against such health insurance for everyone, 28 percent have no opinion on the subject. Proponents see greater fairness, equality and uniformity as the main reason for introducing citizens' insurance.


Meat substitutes: do soy, peas and seitan save our climate??

They look like meat, sizzle just as appetizingly in the pan and resemble the original even in consistency. But instead of animal ingredients, seitan, soy, grains or even peas form their basis: over the shelves of discounters like supermarkets have plant-based meat substitutes found their way out of the niche and onto the plates of German consumers.

Meatless meatballs, vegetable-based patties or vegan ham pickers have long since won over not only vegetarians and vegans, but are particularly popular among so-called flexetarians. In other words, people who eat a largely vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat as well.

And so it comes that Meat alternatives According to the Food Newspaper, sales have steadily increased by about 30 percent annually since 2008.