Germany initiates care reform that will see childless people pay more

Germany initiates care reform that will see childless people pay more

After many rounds of discussions and revisions, a reform of Germany’s long-term care is finally on its way. But one aspect of the reform - the increasing of contribution rates for childless people - is still proving particularly controversial. 

Reform to long-term care on the way

On Wednesday, the cabinet initiated a much-anticipated reform to long-term care insurance in Germany, meaning the issue is likely to be put to the Bundestag before the summer. Among other things, the reform contains a “care package”, which should ensure uniform, better salaries and working conditions for the 1,2 million carers in Germany from September 2022. 

At the same time, in order to relieve those in need of care and their families from ever-increasing costs, from January 2022 the government will make available subsidies to limit peoples' personal contributions. Those who require level 2 care for more than a year will only have to finance 75 percent of the costs themselves; after two years this will decrease to 50 percent, and after three to 25 percent. 

Germany looks to childless people to foot the bill

So far, so good - but what’s proving controversial is how the federal government intends to finance this reform. While the state is contributing a subsidy of one billion euros per year from 2022 onwards, the rest of the bill is to be passed on to childless people. 

Individuals aged 23 and above who do not have children already pay a 0,25-percent premium on their long-term care insurance; the German government is now proposing to increase this by a further 0,1 percentage points. This would raise the contribution rate for childless people to 3,4 percent of their annual salary, compared to the 3,05 percent paid by mothers and fathers. 

Unsurprisingly, the issue is proving particularly emotive. However, the Federal Constitutional Court already ruled, way back in 2001, that a premium increase for people without children is permissible, meaning that the law is firmly backing the government’s position. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn recently defended the decision, claiming on ZDF that “Those who do not raise children have a lower financial burden than those who do.”

However, criticism is coming from other quarters as well. The German Association for Cities, for example, is demanding that those in need of care should receive even more financial relief, while the Left party is calling for carers’ wages across the country to be standardised with collective bargaining. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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