Doctor's appointments: health insurance patients are disadvantaged



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Doctor's appointments: Statutory insured persons are disadvantaged

Statutory health insurers are significantly disadvantaged when it comes to appointing doctors. This resulted in a representative survey study commissioned by the German company health insurance.

Many health insurance patients have always suspected it: when it comes to appointing doctors, legally insured people are clearly disadvantaged compared to private patients. On average, GKV insured persons have to wait up to six days longer for a doctor's appointment than privately insured persons. The only exception in medical care is the emergency room. At least here, people in the prevailing health care system are treated equally.

According to the study, members of the health insurance fund who are insured with the PKV have to wait 6 days less for an appointment before they can consult a doctor. If the respondents were insured in private health insurance, the waiting period only lasted 14 days. The waiting time in the waiting room is also less for private patients than for cash patients. While the latter had to wait almost half an hour (27 minutes), the waiting time for privately insured persons was only 21 minutes. A representative study by the Federal Association of Company Health Insurance Funds (BKK) came to these results. A total of 6,000 women and men were interviewed in the study. The apparent disadvantage between statutory and private insured persons has decreased only marginally since 2008. Accordingly, the legal authorities had to be patient for 21 days.

Emergencies are treated equally, but anyone who is considered an acute emergency with pain or life-threatening complications can get an appointment quickly, regardless of the insurance type. In two thirds of the cases examined, a medical consultation took place on the same day.

A study by the University of Cologne had revealed something similar. Researchers tried to arrange an appointment for a series of examinations in 189 specialist practices in the Cologne, Bonn and Leverkusen area. The differences in the specialist practices were the most serious in the result. Private patients had to wait an average of 8.4 days for an allergy test. If it was stated on the phone that you were legally covered by health insurance, the average waiting time was 26 days.

Many medical assistants avoided the question of the type of insurance by formulating whether they had already been treated. A comparison is then made on the computer during the call. The practice employee can now see whether the caller is privately or legally insured.

Private patients are a lucrative cause for the two-class medicine is the purely economically oriented appointment allocation. The treatment of a private insured person is on average 20 to 45 percent more lucrative. In order not to lose the patient to a colleague, appointments are made as soon as possible. Patients can also feel this. According to another survey by the opinion and market research institute GfK, 83 percent of Germans stated that health insurance members are treated less well than privately insured persons. That doesn't just apply to appointments. (sb)

Also read:
PKV and doctors argue about fees
Numerous private health insurance companies are planning to increase premiums in 2011
Separation of PKV and GKV a phase-out model?

Image: Gerd Altmann, Pixelio.de

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