SHI relocation of Hartz IV recipients?

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The Federal Ministry of Labor Hartz IV may be planning to "relocate" recipients who are in private health insurance (PKV) to the statutory health insurance (GKV). Corresponding media reports were rejected by the Ministry of Labor. However, the draft law is already in place.

10/21/2010. It is a fact, however, that the Federal Minister of Labor Ursula von der Leyen apparently plans to change the law on the PKV and Hartz IV. The background to these considerations are the private health insurance contributions that can hardly be financed by those affected. Numerous, primarily former self-employed persons with unemployment benefit II benefits, have to pay the difference to the SHI contribution from the standard rate themselves. A single adult receives € 359 a month. Half the maximum rate for a private health insurance is 290 euros. The employment agencies only pay a contribution of a maximum of 126 euros per month. This amount reflects the insurance contribution of the statutory health insurance companies. As the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)” reported today, the Ministry of Labor is planning to forcibly “relocate” the approximately 6,100 people affected, who are covered by private health insurance. These are to change to the SHI through a change in the law. As an alternative, it is suggested to limit the private health insurance contribution of ALG II recipients to 126 euros per month. The difference should then be taken over by the PKV itself. This would result in non-financing of around 20 million euros per year.

Federal Ministry of Labor denied
At the request of the "Ärzte Zeitung", however, such measures were denied. Such amendments would not currently exist, as the Federal Ministry of Labor announced. But it is correct that negotiations are currently taking place with the Ministry of Health. Appropriate solutions are not yet foreseeable, as a spokesman emphasized.

No wonder, because the plans have met with fierce resistance within the coalition. The health spokesman for the Union Group, Jens Spahn (CDU) said today: "It cannot be that we put the problem cases into the SHI". Rather, the actual problem with PKV had to be solved. For this, Spahn suggested that tax funds be made available for this. This position was also followed by the deputy group leader of the FDP, Ulrike Flach. The shortfall had to be borne by the state and not passed on to the private health insurance.

Draft amendments to the law are available
According to the Reuters news agency, there is a draft that discusses two amendments. In one model, Hartz IV recipients are to enter the statutory health insurance system by amending the law. In the second variant, private insurance providers are forced to insure the long-term unemployed at the GKV contribution rate.

A corresponding bill will be passed in the Bundestag in the coming week. The time until then is short. Therefore, the FDP politician Flach and CDU health expert Spahn suggest that the employment agencies should take the difference by law. The amount incurred (around 20 million euros per year) is to be financed from tax funds.

PKV association and opposition criticize plans
The association of private health insurers criticized the Ministry of Labor's plans as "completely unacceptable". The state should not transfer its care obligations to third parties. The president of the PKV association, Volker Leienbach, said the legislator should "repair the coverage gap as soon as possible by reimbursing full health insurance contributions". The state is responsible for this.

The project was also criticized by the health expert of the Greens, Birgitt Bender. Instead of the planned measures, it makes more sense to create a uniform insurance contribution for Hartz IV recipients, regardless of whether they are insured in the SHI or in the PKV. A "further subsidization of the private health insurance for identical services" would "not be justified", as the politician emphasized. Criticism also came from the statutory health insurance companies. So the head of the KKH alliance Ingo Kailuweit condemned the plans as "cheap handheld tricks". Such measures lead to a new "marshalling yard". The subsidy payments from the job centers for Hartz IV recipients are already far too low. The health insurers would have to accept a loss of around four million euros in premiums annually due to the three million SHI insured persons with ALG II benefits.

The DGB warned that the federal government should finally start funding the coverage gap. Union member Annelie Buntenbach said in Berlin: “The contributions to health insurance for Hartz IV recipients in the amount of 126 euros are arbitrary and clearly too low, because they do not cover the average per capita expenditure of statutory health insurance or that Basic rate in private health insurance (PKV) ”. Because the insufficient funding creates unjustified additional burdens for the statutory health insurance companies. (sb)

Also read:
Arge has to pay PKV contributions at Hartz IV
Takeover of PKV contributions for Hartz IV recipients
Private health insurance premium increases
No additional contributions to Hartz IV
Basic PKV tariff for ALG II recipients

Picture: Dr. Klaus-Uwe Gerhardt /

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