Are health insurance companies missing 17 billion euros in the next year – or is it even 25 billion? Forecasts still vary. The debate about what should be done is increasingly heated.
Berlin – A new forecast of an expected deficit of billions in compulsory health insurance next year has made the call for higher taxes on health insurance companies louder.
According to the estimates of the Institute for Health Economics (IfG), mandatory health insurance is threatened with a deficit of 25 billion euros in the coming year, the “Bild” newspaper reports. Last week, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds announced that as of today, €17 billion is missing for 2023.
The difference arises because he included high inflation in his calculations, said IfG head Günter Neubauer of the German news agency. It also increases the cost of material costs and personnel. Neubauer told the “Bild” newspaper that previous estimates “did not yet take into account the war in Ukraine and its consequences.” Neubauer: “Inflation increases costs in surgeries and clinics, while the outlook for the labor market in the fall is quite bad.”
Debate on funding
The chairman of the DAK Gesundheit Andreas Storm invited the Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) to act in “Bild”. “Together with the Federal Finance Minister, Lauterbach must now answer the question of whether and how he intends to prevent the coming premium tsunami of 70 million policyholders.” The industry has been waiting three months for the announced bill to stabilize the finances of statutory funds, Storm said.
With an expected deficit in the billions, Lauterbach has already prepared members of mandatory health insurance funds that contributions could increase in 2023. He said in March that with the expected cash deficit of around 17 billion euros next year, it cannot be completely avoided.
The head of the board of directors of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, Doris Pfeiffer, has already called for substantially greater financial stability last week.
The opposition calls for action
The health policy spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Tino Sorge, demanded: “The federal government must (…) take measures now to enable security planning for citizens and health insurance and long-term care insurance.” Lauterbach must submit a corresponding bill.
Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the left-wing parliamentary group, said: “Higher contributions to health insurance next year would be fatal.” They are unreasonable for people with low and normal incomes. “Health Minister Lauterbach should get money from the highest earners and spare the lower and normal people,” Bartsch told dpa. It is necessary to enter public insurance and fair financing of the health system”.
Gesamtmetall CEO Oliver Zander said: “Shrugging and letting premiums rise is not the answer.” However, basic deficits in the health system should not be whitewashed by credit subsidies.
DGB board member Anja Piel, on the other hand, demanded: “For reliable health care, the federal government must contribute more to the financing of health insurance companies.” Health insurance would have to be financed in a solid and crisis way.