Additional contribution effort does not pay

Additional contribution effort does not pay / Health News

Supplementary contribution of health insurance companies: defaulting payers and high administrative costs generate losses


Since the beginning of 2010, a total of 13 health insurance companies have demanded additional contributions from their members. According to an evaluation of the consulting company „Steria Mummert Consulting“ provide additional contributions for the funds, however, no financial benefits. Overall, the administrative burden is too great and does not pay off economically. Numbers insured the additional contribution not and must be reminded, the health insurance companies even generate a significant deficit.

Since 2010, 13 health insurance companies have experienced an average additional contribution of eight euros per month. Since the additional contribution is not collected directly from the regular cash contributions, those affected must transfer the amount on an extra monthly basis. According to estimates by industry experts, around eight million health insurance patients are currently affected in Germany. In the course of health care reform, it is up to health insurance companies to determine the amount of the additional contribution themselves. The funds are to compensate for this imminent financial imbalance if the allocations from the health fund are no longer sufficient. Since the regular health insurance contributions can be increased only nationwide, the additional contributions are also intended to serve the „Competition among the health funds“ to strengthen. As one of the first health insurance companies had to experience the German employees health insurance (DAK), as thousands of contributing members changed the cash register and made use of their special right of termination. Around half a million people changed their health insurance in the first half of last year. Since currently only a minority of the funds demand such an additional obolus, it was easy for the former members to find a new fund.

Thousands refuse to pay the additional contributions
Since the introduction, however, thousands refuse to pay such an additional contribution. Many see themselves due to their financial position hardly able to pay the additional contributions. Hartz IV recipients are likely to belong to this group of people, with the job centers refusing to pay the costs. According to an analysis of the consulting firm „Steria Mummert Consulting“ hides behind the additional contributions a huge administrative effort. If the defaulting payers vehemently refuse, the cashiers incur further costs that not only nullify a financial benefit, but even cause enormous losses.

High administrative burden for health insurance companies
According to newspaper reports, about five percent of the members of the DAK alone are to refuse to pay. On the part of the affected funds announced now, with the help of the customs authorities to recover the outstanding claims. Instead of further reminder letters, they now want to arrange for salary garnishment, in order nevertheless to enforce the payment. But just that procedure, which may be initiated only after several requests for payment from the funds, causes disproportionate costs. Loud „Steria Mummert Consulting“ a combination of administration, defaulting payers and willingness to change is the reason why health insurance companies currently incur only losses with the levying of additional contributions.

Soon additional contributions?
Health economists assume that in the future further statutory health insurance will be dependent on an additional contribution. According to an analysis released last week, some funds ended the year with a massive multi-million dollar shortfall.

In this context, the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) has again spoken out against the additional contributions. In an opinion the DGB designated the additional contribution as one „Head rate through the back door“. „The first to suffer under the capitation fee are millions of pensioners and low-income earners. With a monthly income of 1,000 euros, there is no compensation for capitation of up to 20 euros. This corresponds to a factual additional payment to the health insurance contributions of 240 euros per year“, criticized the DGB board member Annelie Buntenbach today in Berlin. Very soon, many more people will be affected, added Buntenbach. (Sb)

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Picture: Gerd Altmann