Hartz IV: Health insurance companies require additional contributions

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Six health insurance companies are changing their statutes: Hartz IV recipients are obliged to pay additional contributions.

Some health insurance companies charge additional contributions from Hartz IV recipients, although the federal government has decided in the context of the health care reform to exempt the additional contributions for social assistance or Hartz IV benefits in general. This is made possible by a change in the statutes of the health insurers.

Hartz IV recipients should actually be exempt from the additional contributions. The black and yellow coalition initiated a change in the law as part of the health reform specifically for this purpose. But now everything seems to be different. Because the health insurance companies are allowed to make a change in the statutes. In fact, some health insurance companies plan to make such a change in the articles of association in order to collect the additional contribution even for the poor. A spokesman for the umbrella organization of statutory health insurance (GKV) confirmed this to the Stiftung Warentest in Berlin.

Since the health care reform came into force, every health insurance company has been free to determine the amount of the additional contributions themselves. However, due to the decision to increase the regular contribution rate to 15.5 percent, only very few health insurers have to request an additional flat-rate contribution. According to the latest findings, 13 health insurance companies are currently demanding an additional contribution despite the increase in the contribution rate, including the large replacement health insurance fund Deutsche Employees Health Insurance Fund (DAK).

Social compensation does not apply if the statutes are changed
The health fund created is intended to cover the average additional contribution for Hartz IV recipients. However, the average amount is calculated from the average additional contributions from all health insurance companies. However, since only 13 health insurers currently charge an additional contribution, the calculated additional contribution is zero euros. If the actual additional contribution is higher than the average, the difference must be borne by the fund. Unless the insured person's health insurance changes their articles of association and demands the difference from the insured person. Since the average additional flat-rate contribution is now zero euros, Hartz IV recipients have to pay the entire additional contribution if the statutes are changed accordingly. The GKV spokesman could not quantify how many people are affected by this. In plain language, this means that the social compensation promised by the federal government for recipients of unemployment benefit II will not work, at least this year.

13 health insurance companies charge an additional contribution
According to the Stiftung Warentest, of the 13 health insurance funds that charge an additional contribution, a total of six health insurance funds have decided to change their statutes and to request additional contributions from Hartz IV recipients. According to recent judgments, recipients of social benefits cannot claim these costs from the service provider. The job centers are of the opinion that those affected can change health insurance to avoid the additional amounts. However, the special right of termination does not apply if the articles of association are changed. The right to special notice only applies if the health insurance company requests an additional contribution for the first time or increases it further. With around 4.7 million members, the DAK is the third largest health insurance company in Germany. It can be assumed that a few thousand and sometimes tens of thousands of people in Hartz IV receive additional contributions despite social compensation. According to previously unconfirmed information, the DAK also wants to make a change to the articles of association.

Those affected only have regular termination
Those affected have no choice but to pay the additional contribution from unemployment benefit II as standard benefits. Only regular cancellation of the health insurance is possible. The notice period is two months to the end of the month. If the fund is changed, you are bound for at least 18 months and only then can you switch to another health fund. Unless the health insurance company charges a new additional contribution or increases existing ones within the 18 months. Then the special right of termination applies. (sb)

Also read:
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Hartz-IV recipients have to pay an additional contribution
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Additional contribution no particular hardship at Hartz IV

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