Abolition of free co-insurance?

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Market radical economists are calling for the abolition of free co-insurance from statutory health insurance companies

The non-contributory co-insurance for unemployed spouses is, according to the managing director of the Initiative New Social Market Economy (INSM), Hubertus Pellengahr, "grossly unjust" and should therefore be abolished. The employer-related initiative explained that by contributing those who had previously been insured free of charge, contributions to statutory health insurance could be reduced by a total of 0.7 percentage points.

According to Hubertus Pellengahr, free co-insurance for non-working spouses is a "stove premium" and the unfair way of favoring families with an income over the double earners. On Wednesday in Berlin, the INSM, which is close to the employer, called for the abolition of non-contributory co-insurance and a contribution of unemployed spouses to health insurance with 126 euros per month. In this way, the contributions of the statutory health insurance companies could be reduced significantly, the expert explained.

Free co-insurance grossly unfair? The INSM managing director referred to a current study by the financial scientist Prof. Bernd Raffelhüschen from the Center for Generational Research at the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg. In his investigations, he identified “bad financing” in the amount of 100 billion euros in the social security systems and essentially blamed them for the growing financial difficulties in covering the benefits. The new social market economy initiative, which is close to the employer, has now picked out the free co-insurances and criticized them as costly and "grossly unfair". Here families with one earner would be massively favored over double earners. According to the managing director of INSM Pellengahr, the non-contributory co-insurance of around five million housewives and men is "nothing more than a stove premium". If it is up to the employer-related institute, the spouses who have previously been insured free of charge should in future pay a flat rate of around 126 euros per month as a health insurance contribution. Overall, the contribution rate of the statutory health insurance could decrease by 0.7 percentage points, explained Pellengahr.

Bad financing in the billions In addition to the free co-insurance, the generation researcher Prof. Bernd Raffelhüschen has massively criticized further shortcomings in the social security systems in his study for the initiative New Social Market Economy. The renowned and liberal expert criticized "wrong financing" in the amount of around 93 billion euros in the statutory pension insurance. According to Raffelhüschen, these "bad financing" results, for example, from the higher pensions for residents of the former GDR, since here the contribution payments would be credited more. The generation researcher is also of the opinion that child rearing and vocational training should not be rated higher in pension insurance as before. Raffelhüschen named numerous "dirt elements" that politicians had built into social systems for decades, even though these were actually family policy benefits that would have to be financed through tax revenues. Financing through the tax would "also involve rich and civil servants in the redistribution", which, in the expert's opinion, would bring significantly more justice to the social security system. In addition, Raffelhüschen explained that pension contributions could be reduced by up to 1.5 percentage points.

SPD health expert criticizes termination of solidarity principle The reaction of the social associations and the SPD to the initiative of the New Social Market Economy initiative was extremely critical. The SPD health expert Elke Furthermore called the proposals of the INSM "more than cynical" and explained that above all the abolition of the free co-insurance would represent a "termination of the solidarity principle in the statutory health insurance". In the view of the SPD politician, the problem is not the free co-insurance of the unemployed spouse, but the so-called spouse taxation, which makes employment for many wives simply unprofitable. The regulations on spouse taxation would often tax working wives significantly more, which would ultimately reduce net income to such an extent that those concerned carefully consider whether to return to work. In the opinion of the SPD health expert, urgent consideration should be given to reorganizing spouse taxation, rather than hastily promoting the abolition of co-insurance. In addition, the SPD's demand for minimum wages is a key factor in solving the financial problems in the social systems. Because "the social security would have additional revenues that would go into the billions," said Elke Ferner.

Extramarital life partners cannot benefit Life partners who do not live together in a marriage are, however, once again excluded from the discussion about possible fairness in free co-insurance and spouse taxation. Anyone who does not accept marriage as the basis of partnership-based coexistence cannot benefit from the possible tax advantages and the advantages of health insurance here in Germany - even if de facto there are no differences between their relationship and a marriage in everyday life. This raises the question of whether this situation is possibly also grossly unfair to extramarital partners. In our Christian society, marriage is of particular importance, but making it a prerequisite for a large part of the benefits by law seems a little outdated today. (fp)

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