Health insurance should no longer become a debt trap

Health insurance should no longer become a debt trap

This was decided by the Bundestag in Berlin on Friday with the votes of the CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens. “We are bringing the affected people back into coverage,” said Health Minister Daniel Bahr (FDP).

In the future, a late payment surcharge of one percent per month instead of the current five percent will apply to those with statutory health insurance. Previous debt from increased late payment surcharge to be forgiven.

Those who are not insured and have not signed up by 31. If a person reports to a cashier’s office by December, his or her contribution debts are to be waived. They accrue so far for the period between the start of compulsory insurance in 2007 and reporting to the fund. Those who do not report until after the deadline are to receive a reduction on the additional payments. The Bundesrat is expected to pass the law on 5. July.

Private health insurance premium debtors are to be transferred to a new emergency tariff following a reminder procedure. Lower premiums should protect them from being overcharged.

Bahr stressed: “Mountains of debt have piled up for affected people.” SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach said: “The people who have now made the debts, will make the debts that are forgiven in the short term, but again.” Many could not afford health insurance today.

With the same package of laws, the Bundestag decided that Germany’s partly cash-strapped hospitals should get a financial injection of 1.1 billion euros. As a result, health insurers’ spending on clinics will rise to a record level of an estimated 64.7 billion euros in 2013 alone, as the Deutsche Presse-Agentur learned from the German National Association of Health Insurance Funds.

From the 1. August the money is to flow. A one percent surcharge is to be added to the flat rates that clinics receive for their services. In addition, there will be more money to compensate for wage increases and for more staff to improve hygiene in clinics. The widespread germs that are resistant to antibiotics should be contained. “We still have some catching up to do in Germany for better hygiene,” said Bahr.

Around ten months after the organ allocation scandal was uncovered, it should also be possible to punish such serious fraud more effectively. The amendment to the Transplantation Act, supported by all parliamentary groups, is intended to prohibit by law false information about patients waiting for an organ. Violation of the ban is to be punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine.

In addition, the relevant guidelines of the German Medical Association on the subject must be approved by the Federal Ministry of Health in the future. Since July 2012, it has become known that a doctor in Gottingen is alleged to have reported false data of patients from 2009 to 2011 in order to give preference to his own patients when receiving a donor liver. There was also manipulation at other clinics.

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