Change the health insurance company or stay?

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Additional contributions from the statutory health insurances are causing more and more insured persons to switch. But when should you actually change health insurance? The magazine Finanztest compared around 100 health insurance companies in the field of services.

(May 18, 2010) More and more insured people are changing health insurance because of the additional contributions that are levied. In the meantime, every sixth GKV insured person pays a flat-rate or income-related additional contribution. Since February, many health insurances have been charging additional contributions to compensate for financial deficits. A total of twelve health insurances meanwhile charge an additional contribution. More funds could be added very soon. In the first quarter of 2010 alone, around 400,000 insured persons switched to statutory health insurance.

Additional health insurance contributions.
An additional fee charged can be expensive. The tills can add up to one percent surcharge. That makes up to 450 euros per year in addition to the general contributions. As a rule, the health insurers currently charge an additional fee of eight euros per month. That's an additional 100 euros a year.

If a health insurance company charges an additional fee, the insured can usually change health insurance company without any problems. That is stipulated in the contract. But many people wonder which health insurance company they should switch to. Because the benefits and service of the GKVs often differ not insignificantly. In addition, it is not always clear whether the newly elected health insurance company will soon be charging an additional contribution. The consumer magazine "Finanztest" compared around 100 health insurance companies and examined them for their attractiveness.

Find the right health insurance company.
Finding the right health insurance company is not easy. It is still not clear what the future of health insurers will look like. Currently, the health insurance funds are completely underfunded by law. For this year alone, experts expect a deficit of around 3.1 billion euros. The health insurance companies can only cover 95 percent of their expenses through the membership fees. If expenses can no longer be saved, many other health insurance companies will also start demanding additional contributions. In addition, several health insurances are calling for the contribution rate to be increased for all insured persons.

Therefore, insured persons should pay more attention to which service and which benefits the health insurance company offers. Further additional contributions or general contribution increases will certainly come. The so-called head lump sum is also favored primarily by the FDP and could change the entire system again. You can find a comparison of the health insurance companies on the Finanztest portal.

Large health insurance companies usually have a better service.
According to the financial test, the major health insurance companies in particular offer a good service. These include the health insurance companies DAK, KKH-Allianz and Novitas BKK. The health insurance companies Deutsche BKK and Esso BKK are no less attractive. Although these also require additional contributions, the health insurers offer homeopathy and travel vaccinations, for example. On the other hand, the GKV Versicherungen BKK for health professions and the Joint BKK Cologne were rated poorly. Although both health insurances require an additional contribution of one percent of income (up to EUR 37.50 per month), the benefits are no better than those of other health insurances that do not require additional contributions from their members. (sb)

Also read:
Health insurance: tough cuts expected
Consumer protection against GKV additional contributions
Health insurance companies with 3.1 billion in deficit
Image: Andreas Morlok /

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