The City BKK company health insurance fund will close on July 1, 2011
The City BKK will be closed on July 1st as reported. The first closure of a health insurance fund after the introduction of the health fund has shown that competition between the statutory health insurance funds has now flared up. While the insured remain well protected in such a case and insurance cover is guaranteed, there is a legitimate question as to where competition in the healthcare system is still going. The City BKK has hit a relatively small fund with only around 168,000 members. What happens if a large health insurance company reports impending bankruptcy and therefore has to close?
Additional contributions are apparently no way out
The health insurance companies apparently cannot exempt additional contributions from a financial emergency. Finally, the City BKK had to charge an additional flat rate of 15 euros per member in order to remain able to work at all. But it was precisely this additional contribution that heralded the end, because above all the higher earners turned their backs on the fund after the introduction. What has remained are mainly older or chronically ill members, whose care costs have risen sharply due to numerous treatments and examinations. In addition, most of the insured lived in large cities such as Hamburg or Berlin, where the costs of medical treatment are usually higher than in rural regions.
Why should insured persons also stay with a health insurance company that requires additional monthly contributions of 180 euros per year in addition to the regular insurance premiums when other health insurers offer an equally identical range of services? The closure should therefore be a warning to all health insurers, which raise additional contributions out of necessity. At least as long as the majority of the other health insurers are spared such an additional contribution. In the past year, around half a million insured people have turned their backs on their fund and switched to another fund. The AOK and the Techniker Krankenkasse have benefited from the alternating movements.
Rescue fund for distressed health insurance companies?
When it became known last year that, in addition to the City BKK, the Joint Company Health Insurance Fund Cologne (GBK) and the BKK health care professions were in massive financial trouble, the Federal Association of Company Health Insurance Funds was thinking out loud about setting up a state rescue fund, similar to what happened during the financial crisis was with the banks. Because at the cash registers the fear of the domino effect is at stake. If a cash register closes in the network, the others have to stand up for the costs so that insurance protection is maintained. If only a small cash register is affected, the costs are in the millions, but are still somewhat manageable. If a large health insurance fund has to close and there are only a few health insurance funds due to changes in the healthcare system, this could quickly lead to a far-reaching crisis in the healthcare system. Because if the other health insurances have to pay the costs of an insolvent health insurance company, this could quickly lead to financial hardships. In such a case, only a state umbrella in the form of a rescue fund could cushion a crisis. Therefore, the question should be allowed whether a healthcare system like ours can actually allow tough competition. Due to the demographic change and the steadily increasing costs in the health care system, the times of statutory health insurance are definitely not getting any better. Health economists have therefore been calling for a far-reaching reform towards solidarity-based citizens' insurance. Read also: City BKK health insurance is closed. (sb)
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