It was clear that the Federal Minister of Health would not make friends with an increase in the additional health insurance contribution. Criticism comes from all camps - extensive reforms in financing are being called for. The Greens are bringing an increase in the contribution assessment ceiling into play.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach's plans for higher additional contributions from statutory health insurance companies have met with widespread criticism. The main concern here is that without reforms there is a risk of further increases in the coming years.
"Basically, we need expenditure-reducing structural reforms in all branches of social security," said Markus Jerger, chairman of the Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (BVMW). "Germany can no longer afford a further increase in health insurance contributions."
You already have the largest duty and tax burden in Europe. The CEO of the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit, Andreas Storm, said the "image": "The minister has addressed a structural underfunding of the (statutory health insurance) GKV himself, but wants to solve half of the deficit with one-off measures." As a result, the insured are threatened with the next increase in 2024.
The CSU health expert Stephan Pilsinger took the same line in the "Augsburger Allgemeine": "The sometimes confused individual measures will not lead to the foreseeable contribution tsunami being stopped," he said.
The Greens health expert Janosch Dahmen brought an increase in the contribution assessment ceiling into play. "We have to create more solidarity in the system," said Dahmen of the German Press Agency. "Strong shoulders should take on more responsibility for the community in times of crisis," said Dahmen. "Raising the contribution assessment ceiling should no longer be a taboo."
This year, the income threshold for statutory health insurance is 58,050 euros (4837.50 euros per month). An employee's income is subject to contributions up to the contribution assessment limit; everything above that is non-contributory. Dahmen continued: "The statutory health insurance needs higher income, at the same time many contributors need relief." He stated: "In the near future, we cannot expect the majority of people to have even higher health insurance contributions."
In the coalition agreement, there is no increase in the contribution assessment limit. "But at that time we were not yet able to foresee the enormous price controls," says Dahmen. "The state must improve the revenue side of statutory health insurance so that in the end the contributors don't plug the gaps." Dahmen therefore also demanded that government grants for Hartz 4 recipients and refugees from Ukraine be increased.
The President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, proposed the introduction of a reduced rate of VAT on pharmaceuticals in order to significantly relieve the burden on health insurers. However, Lauterbach's draft does not provide for this. The Minister of Health announced on Tuesday that the average additional contribution in health insurance would probably increase by 0.3 percentage points in 2023. This is expected to bring in between 4.8 and 5 billion euros.
The contribution increase should be part of a package of measures to cover a deficit of 17 billion euros in the statutory health insurance. There will be no cuts in performance. The average additional contribution is currently 1.3 percent - the specific amount is determined by the insurance companies themselves. The total contribution of the insured includes the general rate of 14.6 percent of the gross salary.