In the next year, the compulsory health insurance (GKV) will have a deficit of at least 18 billion euros; Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also wants to close the financial gap by increasing contributions. “We have to turn four screws: increase the efficiency reserves in the health system, use the reserves in the health insurance companies, provide additional federal subsidies and increase contributions,” Lauterbach said in an interview with the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung “.
It left open by what percentage contributions should be increased. “It would be unprofessional if I were to brief you here on the ongoing talks.” He also didn’t want to commit to an appointment before the summer break: “I will introduce a well-considered bill on time.”
With the increase in contributions, which health insurers had already planned for 2021, citizens are now facing more financial burdens on top of the drastic increase in energy costs recently. At the same time, Lauterbach tries to save one of his promises with this step: that there will be no benefit cuts with him as minister. That is why the rapid stabilization of cash register finances is so urgent.
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Last week, a bill for a GKV financial stabilization law, which Lauterbach had previously announced, was made public. However, this was apparently not coordinated with Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP).
The draft talks about a tax subsidy of five billion euros for the GKV. The increase in contributions depends on the amount of this additional subsidy. Additional contributions will be decided by the so-called estimating group GKV in the fall of this year.
The final increase in additional contributions depends on how many tax subsidies Finance Minister Lindner von Lauterbach can be persuaded, and thus also on how much support Lauterbach gets from Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). Only when this key figure has been determined, it will be possible to reliably estimate what price increases are necessary.
The four adjustment screws that Lauterbach spoke about in the last interview were also touched on in the draft of a “Financial Stabilization Law for Compulsory Health Insurance” that was made known almost two weeks ago. Regarding the additional contributions, he says that the legislator wants to avoid “an excessively strong increase.”
The GKV is still solid. So there was a negative sign last year, but only because the health insurance funds were legally forced to reduce their liquidity reserves.
The general contribution rate for compulsory health insurance is currently 14.6 per cent of salary or pension. However, this is usually not enough for insurance companies to cover their costs. Therefore, you may charge additional fees. This year, these average 1.3 percent, but vary from register to register. Both parts of the contribution are paid half by the employer and half by the employee. The GKV has received an annual tax subsidy of €14.5 billion for years.
Lauterbach recently emphasized in a Tagesspiegel interview that many laws from the past legislature, in which Lauterbach himself played a central role, increased costs. “And revenues are falling due to Corona.” In fact, in the last two years, two laws in particular have been affected that Lauterbach’s predecessor, Jens Spahn (CDU), had initiated. The Dating Supplies and Services Act alone costs EUR amounts in the mid-single-digit billion range each year.