German Federation of Trade UnionsAccording to estimates by the GKV-Spitzenverband, healthcare costs will rise by 19 billion euros in the next few years. If nothing changes in the current legal situation, only employees will have to pay for it. Average earners face additional costs of up to 855 euros per year due to the additional health insurance contributions alone. This is the result of a new DGB study.
Farewell to parity financing
When social security was reintroduced in the Federal Republic of Germany, parity in the amounts paid was invoked. Because these are revenues taken from the economy, the social partners are jointly responsible for them.
This is no longer the case today: In 2005, the then German government abolished the parity-based financing of contributions to the statutory health insurance system and introduced a special contribution for employees. This was changed in 2011 into a monthly additional contribution – and at the same time the employer contribution was frozen at 7.30 percent.
Additional contributions continue to rise
Since 2015, every health insurance fund whose expenses are not covered by allocations from the health fund has been allowed to demand an additional contribution from its members and to set the amount individually. Today, employees pay an average of 8.4 percent of their gross income into the statutory health insurance system, while employers continue to pay 7.30 percent.
Currently, the additional contribution that employees pay to their health insurance funds averages 1.1 percent. Average earners have about 358 euros per year less in their pockets as a result. And: Experts expect that the additional burden will continue to rise significantly in the coming years.
(DGB presentation; source: Memorandum 2016; own calculations)
More and more costs have to be borne privately
Another point: Not only the contributions to the statutory health insurance are rising, but also the other health care costs. In recent decades, many benefits have been removed from the statutory health insurance system, such as dental prostheses for adults or long-term care insurance. More and more costs for services, medicines or remedies and aids will have to be borne privately by dependent employees. In 2014, this was already 43.19 billion euros.
Unfair distribution of burdens
If you add up both items – social insurance expenditures and other health care expenditures – it becomes clear how unequally the burden is distributed: Employers pay 74.28 billion euros, employees 137.15 billion euros.
(DGB presentation; source: Health Expenditure Accounts of the Federal Government 2014, Federal Statistical Office, own calculations)
Employees urgently need to be relieved
In order to put an end to this structurally unfair distribution of the burden, the DGB is calling on the governing coalition to return immediately to parity financing of SHI contributions. A law to strengthen the health insurance system for insured persons is also needed, in which financial burdens and decision-making powers are regulated more fairly. For example, a clear distinction must be made between government tasks, which are financed by taxes, and social security tasks, which are financed by contributions. In the longer term, the DGB is striving for the introduction of a citizens' insurance in the SHI system.