PKV business figures: increased costs, increased premium income. The PKV federal association presented the new business figures of its members.
Private health insurances (PKV) suffer from the cost increases in the health system, but at the same time were able to gain significant members and are therefore optimistic about the future. This was announced by the PKV association when the business results of its members were published on Thursday in Berlin.
The Association of Private Health Insurance (PKV) has announced the business figures of its member companies for 2009 and the first half of 2010. They show that the cost pressure in the healthcare system is also causing problems for private health insurance. However, in the course of the support provided by the health reform of the black and yellow federal government, private insurers were also able to enjoy a substantial increase in membership.
PKV insure almost 9 million members According to the PKV association, the number of members in private health insurance rose to 8.86 million fully insured by the end of 2009, with a net new entry of 171,600 people. In contrast, only 90,300 new private insurance companies were registered in 2008. The PKV association emphasized that the enormous growth among new customers is primarily due to a “one-off effect” triggered by the “obligation to insure” that came into force on January 1, 2009. Because thousands of previously uninsured have taken out private health and long-term care insurance, according to the statement by the PKV association. The private insurers are hoping for more positive effects from the simplified switch from the federal government to legally insured persons towards private health insurance. According to this, the waiting period of three years that was previously applicable should be abolished, so that insured persons can switch from statutory to private insurance more quickly. Private health insurance companies are hoping for further positive effects from the easier tax deductibility of insurance premiums that has been in place since the beginning of the year.
Growing number of supplementary insurances The private sector was also able to look back on extremely positive developments in the field of supplementary insurance. As a result of the black and yellow federal government's ban on supplementary insurance with statutory health insurance (GKV), the number of private supplementary insurance policies taken out in 2009 rose by almost half a million to 21.48 million. Supplementary long-term care insurance was particularly in demand last year, with an increase of around 14 percent to a total of 1.5 million. The trend continued in the first half of 2010, with the number of private supplementary insurance increasing by a further 77,000. 16.12 million of those insured in the area of supplementary insurance were health insurance patients who, for example, wanted to secure additional benefits for outpatient treatment, optional services in hospitals or dental treatment, the PKV Association explained.
Rising premium income from private health insurance Due to the growing number of members, private health insurance companies have also been able to record a substantial increase in premium income. According to the PKV association, private insurers received around 31.5 billion euros in premiums in the field of health insurance and nursing care insurance last year, which corresponds to an increase of 3.8 percent compared to the previous year. The majority of the premiums were generated with 29.39 billion euros in the field of health insurance (plus 3.6 percent compared to 2008), but nursing care insurance also gave the companies a substantial premium income of 2.07 billion euros (plus 5.3 percent compared to 2008) 2008). The PKV association is expecting comparable good numbers for 2010. The premium income is estimated at EUR 33.36 billion, with health insurance and EUR 2.12 billion expected to be attributable to nursing care insurance.
Benefits cost the private health insurance considerably more. Although private insurance companies can look forward to a substantial increase in premium income, insurance companies are concerned about the rapidly increasing benefits. In the past year, the PKV had to bear 4.7 percent more costs than in the previous year. The services of its 8.86 million members cost the PKV a total of 21.1 billion euros in 2009, according to the association. Benefits in the area of health insurance rose by 4.6 percent to EUR 20.45 billion, and in the area of nursing care insurance by 8.1 percent to EUR 667.7 million. For 2010, the PKV association expects insurance benefits to cost EUR 22.07 billion, with EUR 21.33 billion expected for health and EUR 740 million for long-term care insurance. The PKV association complained that this cost explosion of services was well above the general price increase of 0.38 percent.
Basic tariff criticized again The fact that the rising costs in the health care system will also reach the private health insurance was predictable and only shows that the private health insurance is subject to the same financial developments as the statutory insurers. However, private health insurance companies have a considerable advantage over statutory insurance companies: they can choose their customers and determine the contribution rates themselves, so that they can absorb the cost pressure on health services to some extent. The basic tariff, which, according to the will of the legislator, the private health insurance company must offer in 2009 in order to also offer privately insured persons who have lost their insurance cover the possibility of returning to the respective insurance is an exception. Because the basic tariff must correspond to the regulation in the statutory health insurance in terms of minimum length of stay and scope of benefits. In other words, the scope of benefits should correspond to the benefits catalog of the statutory health insurance and no supplements due to an increased health risk may be charged. In addition, the contributions are limited to the respective maximum amount of the SHI.
Increased demand and prices for health services Due to its need for subsidies, the basic tariff is again sharply criticized by the PKV association, whereby 18,200 members are insured with a basic tariff. With a total of almost 9 million customers, the basic tariffs are likely to have a marginal effect on the cost increase in services. Especially since, according to current media reports, the assumption of costs for numerous services in the basic tariff is not covered and the insurance protection was rated significantly worse than the offers of the GKV. Growing demand and increased prices for health care services are likely to have a much larger share in the increase in insurance benefits. The PKV association also relies on "contract competence with all service providers" in order to have more influence on the quality, quantities and prices of health services and to keep the cost increases within bounds. The PKV again receives support from the direction of the black and yellow federal government or the Federal Minister of Health, Philipp Rösler (FDP). In the future, for example, private insurers should also benefit from discount contracts with pharmaceutical manufacturers that were previously reserved for the SHI.
Retirement provisions reach 145 billion The PKV association is also optimistic about retirement provisions. In 2009, the Germans added almost 11 billion euros to the aging provision, with around 9.7 billion euros going to health insurance and 1.3 billion to long-term care insurance. According to the PKV association, both insurance branches now have a total of 145.32 billion euros in retirement provisions (around 125 billion health insurance, 20 billion nursing care insurance). (Fp, 19.11.2010)
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