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Higher contribution rates demanded: Health insurance companies threaten a billion deficit


            
              Wednesday, October 9, 2019
              
                

            
In just a few years, the statutory health insurance could accumulate a huge minus.
(Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

              Many old people, fewer professionals: According to a study, public health insurance funds are aiming for a deficit of 50 billion euros by 2040. This could cost workers a lot: Experts recommend higher contribution rates and austerity measures in hospitals.
              After years with billions in surpluses, the statutory health insurance funds (GKV) are forecasted to be deficient again within a few years. In the year 2040, the minus would amount to almost 50 billion euros, if the policy is not countermeasures early, it is clear from a calculation on behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation. Accordingly, the contribution rate would have to be gradually increased from the current 14.6 percent by the year 2040 to 16.9 percent in order to cover expected expenditure increases. It is becoming apparent that by the mid-2020s at the latest, the gap between health spending and premium income will "open towards deficit". A key driver is demographic change – with an increasing proportion of older people making more of a health claim. as the authors of the Institute for Health and Social Research (Iges) write. Above all, with the entry of high-birth-rate vintages into retirement age, their contribution to SHI income is reduced. Politicians have no direct influence on important factors influencing the financial situation of statutory health insurance – employment and income trends or price developments in healthcare – said foundation expert Stefan Etgeton. But there are effective political instruments to counteract a deficit: For example, overcapacities could be reduced in the hospital sector to save costs. Forecast: contributions would have to increase every two years The federal subsidy – these are tax funds – for the SHI of currently 14.5 billion annually Euro should increase gradually, the foundation recommends. If you want to keep the general contribution rate (without additional contribution) stable to around 15 percent, the subsidy must be increased from 2028 every two years – this would then amount to about 70 billion euros in 2040, the study calculates. Currently the contribution rate is 14.6 percent , The cash registers can also individually determine an additional contribution. For 2018, the Federal Ministry of Health had reported for the statutory health insurance funds a surplus of two billion euros, in 2017 it had been three billion. At the end of 2018, the reserves of the funds amounted to 21 billion euros. Despite the weaker economic outlook, the GKV Spitzenverband recently continued to expect robust revenues for the time being, but also warned of significant spending risks in the summer.

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