AOK Nord-West: Perfect health insurance companies

AOK: Fusion health insurance companies perfect

After numerous announcements and preparations, the time has come: The AOK Westfalen-Lippe and the AOK Schleswig-Holstein have been a joint health insurance company with the name AOK Nord-West since the first October. The head office of the cash register will be the town of Hörde.

The merger of the Allgemeine Ortskrankenkassen Westfalen-Lippe and the AOK Schleswig-Holstein is perfect. Since October 1, 2010, both have been forming a joint health insurance company entitled "AOK Nord-West". Around 2.8 million people are now covered by health insurance in the new statutory health insurance. According to the new CEO Martin Litsch, the AOK now has a budget volume of around 7.5 billion euros and is one of the ten largest health insurance companies in Germany after the merger.

What changes for the insured?
What will the insured face now? "Nothing actually changes," says Litsch. "The insured will benefit from the merger." Because the merger will secure the health insurance budget, so that in 2011 there will be no additional contributions from members. In addition, the service and health services should be optimized, as it was said. "With a tighter organization, we are better placed as a service provider," announced AOK boss Litsch.

Many health insurance companies are planning to merge
More and more health insurance companies are pushing to merge with others. If a health insurance company grows in size, it can respond better to financial constraints and eventualities. In addition, the risk of necessary additional contributions can be minimized. Because even with the health insurance companies, the additional burdens for the insured are unpopular. At the beginning of the year, 16 health insurance companies introduced an additional contribution. With the result that, above all, many young and healthy members changed their register. To prevent this, many, especially smaller, health insurance companies are looking for partners to avoid additional burdens for the insured and to stabilize their own financial situation. Experts believe that the number of health insurance companies will decrease significantly in the next few years, as more and more insurance companies are pushing for a merger.

Patient receipts for medical treatments are introduced
The AOK North-West now wants to break new ground. AOK members will receive patient receipts after announcements. This means that after each visit to the doctor, the insured person is issued a receipt listing the costs and health care benefits. "It will be a kind of account statement with an overview of all services performed," said Litsch. The receipts should serve to introduce a certain cost control. The patients should see which services have been performed and in what amount. However, the model should not be confused with the reimbursement project favored by the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler. A prepayment is not planned.

Second opinion planned for serious illnesses
It is also planned to get insured persons with very serious illnesses (e.g. cancer) a second medical opinion. Until now, such health care was only available to private patients. These plans are to be implemented at the beginning of 2011.

No termination of AOK employees planned
The employees of the two merged health insurers do not have to worry about their future at first. According to the AOK Nord-West, no terminations due to the merger are planned. Around 7600 employees currently work in around 230 service centers at the cash register. It is still unclear whether another merger will take place with AOK Rheinland / Hamburg. Initial discussions were held at the beginning of the year. These are currently "frozen". (sb, 03.10.2010)

Also read:
New AOK Northeast planned
Additional contributions at the AOK in early May?
Merger of the AOK to form the AOK Plus

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