Consumer protection against additional SHI contributions

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While more and more health insurance companies are demanding additional contributions from their insured, the Federal Association of Consumer Advice Centers demands that doctors, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and pharmacies participate more in the costs of the statutory health insurance companies.

(28.04.2010) More and more statutory health insurance companies (GKV) are demanding additional contributions from their members. In view of the deficits in the health insurance funds, the Federal Association of Consumer Centers calls for greater financial participation by doctors, pharmacies, the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals. Gerd Billen, CEO of Consumer Protection Centers, criticizes the current situation: "It cannot be the case that the legally insured are asked to pay additional contributions to the cash register while others are preserving their property." The statutory health insurance companies are facing a financial disaster. The Federal Insurance Office recently estimated the financial deficit for 2011 at 15 billion euros. The deficit is forecast to reach EUR 4 billion in 2010. In spite of the additional premiums often collected by the insured, the deficit will not be made up.

In view of these figures, Billen suggests making the increase in doctors' income dependent on economic developments and the income base of health insurance companies. "In times when workers and pensioners have to put up with zero rounds, the incomes of doctors cannot increase disproportionately," said the head of the consumer protection association.

Completely contrary to the economic situation and the general income development of workers, the remuneration of doctors would continue to rise. Last year doctors' salaries increased by a total of 3 billion euros. To counteract the shortage of doctors, there should be a better division of labor between doctors and other health professions.

Reforms should also take place in hospital reimbursement. Clinics could have achieved significant profits through specialization and rationalization. However, these gains would have played no role in the benefits paid by the statutory health insurance funds. Clear corrections could be made here, instead of demanding ever higher premiums and flat-rate additional premiums for those insured with statutory health insurance. (sm)

Image: Andreas Morlok /

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