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The Federal Minister of Health plans to waive the additional contributions in future for unemployment benefits I and Hartz IV recipients. But the project met with criticism within the coalition.
(19.08.2010) The Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) wants to waive the additional contributions of the health insurance companies for Hartz IV recipients and recipients of unemployment benefit I as part of the health care reform. So far, unemployed people have had to pay the additional contribution out of their own pockets because employment agencies refuse to cover the additional health costs. But within the coalition, there is at least only partial agreement with the health minister's plans. A new dispute within the coalition is looming.
According to the draft law on health care reform, recipients of Hartz IV benefits, unemployment benefit I, social assistance, recipients of basic security as well as conscripts should be exempt from paying the additional contribution of the health insurance companies. Instead, the costs should be borne by the responsible authorities - for example, for Hartz IV recipients from the employment agencies. The health insurance companies will then be reimbursed by the state authorities for the additional contributions.
But within the coalition, these plans are incomprehensible. The CDU health expert Jens Spahn told the Frankfurter Rundschau (FR) that the cost of unemployment benefit one beneficiary had to be "discussed again". Because, according to the Union's health policy spokesman, ALG I recipients would have enough money to pay the additional contribution. Unemployment benefit recipients receive 60 percent of their last net wages for one year. For Spahn, only the suggestion to relieve Hartz IV recipients of the additional contributions was acceptable. Because these have just 359 euros Hartz IV standard rate per month. Health care costs are not included in the standard rate. The Union will only support this point.
So far, the Ministry of Health has not commented on the open criticism from the ranks of the Union. The health care reform should be implemented at the beginning of 2011. The Federal Minister of Health has until September to draft and formulate plans. Then there is a vote in the cabinet. It can therefore be assumed that the additional contribution will only be waived for Hartz IV recipients. All others must either change health insurance or pay the additional contribution. However, a right of termination only exists after the additional contributions have been announced. (sb)
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Image: Harry Hautumm / pixelio.de