Waiting for the healthcare fund
The year 2008 was a transitional year for German healthcare. Broad sections of the population have come to terms with the notion that the healthcare system in Germany is constantly becoming more expensive yet not offering improved performance. Within the scope of the MLP Health Report 2008, six out of ten German citizens considered that healthcare provision in Germany had deteriorated. And 57 % of doctors questioned in the same, representative survey by the Allensbach Institute confirmed this impression of the citizens. Yet the media did not give much attention to the topic of healthcare in 2008. Germany was awaiting the launch of the German Healthcare Fund on January 1, 2009, which will introduce a standard health insurance premium for all statutory health insurance funds. Those on statutory insurance who had not yet switched to a cheaper statutory scheme in the last few years, continued to hold off in 2008 and wait for the healthcare fund.
The quality of healthcare provision in the last two, three years has/is...
Bar for private health insurance has been raised
Private health insurers had a client base of 8.57 million German residents on June 30, 2008. While in the first half of 2007 some 37,700 people switched to a private health insurance, only 23,400 did the same in the first half of 2008. One reason for this is surely the increased income limit introduced in February 2007, above which people can freely make the switch. According to the new regulations, employees can only switch to a private health insurance when they can demonstrate that their income has been above this statutory insurance limit for three calendar years in succession. This represents a real hurdle for those wishing to switch, particularly since the statutory insurance limit is also increased year on year. Last year, for example, the bar was set at € 48,150, which will reach € 48,600 in 2009 and € 49,050 in 2010.
Private supplementary insurance in demand
Demand for private supplementary insurance remains steady. In 2008, the number of people with supplementary insurance reached around 21 million for the first time. Overall, the insurance industry expects to collect premium income to the tune of € 30.3 billion in the private health insurance sector for 2008.
Set against the background of continued reductions in service among statutory health insurance schemes, last year we placed particular emphasis on informing our clients of option tariffs in our consulting. Option tariffs still allow people later entry into private health insurance without having to worry about higher costs later on due to poorer health status. The offer attracted a great deal of interest. In 2008, we mainly brokered option tariffs for later entry into private health insurance, supplementary insurance, supplementary dental insurance and supplementary care insurance. This is roughly in line with the sales trend in the sector.
Summary: legal environment slowing down healthcare provision business
Most Germans now believe that the statutory health insurance funds have reached their performance limits and that there is no doubt that the treatment they provide in future will have to be further reduced while premiums continue to increase. There is therefore willingness to switch to private health insurance. However, the legal environment is making it difficult to broker new private health insurance contracts. Those willing to make the switch now have to prove that their earnings have been above the legal limit for three years in succession before they can change to a private provider. This is causing a time lag for the planned change. As such, new business in the health insurance segment was at a lower level in 2008.