Lauterbach planning to increase health insurance contributions in Germany
Even before the coronavirus crisis, Germany’s statutory health insurers were in a tricky financial situation. In the coming year, they are expected to be short almost 17 billion euros. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has said he therefore has little option but to increase contribution rates.
Public health insurance contribution rates to rise in Germany
“We have to turn four screws: increase efficiency reserves in the healthcare system, use the reserves of the health insurance companies, bestow additional federal grants, and increase contributions,” the Health Minister said in an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.
He did not, however, say how much contributions would increase by. Currently, the contribution rate is 14,6 percent of a person’s salary (split equally between the worker and the employer), plus an additional contribution rate of up to 1,6 percent.
Following Lauterbach’s announcement, the opposition parties and health insurance funds asked for clarification on the new contribution rates, but the Health Minister asked for patience. “I will present a well-considered draft law in good time,” he said, but probably not before the summer holidays.
Health Minister calls for people to get tested for COVID
Lauterbach also said that the government would most likely continue to offer free rapid COVID tests - the so-called citizen tests (Bürgertest) - beyond May 31. “We will decide according to the situation,” he said, adding that “The tests remain a valuable tool.”
He appealed to people in Germany to continue to get tested, “even if negative tests are no longer required for bars and nightclubs. When visiting relatives, celebrations, events. Especially before encounters with immunocompromised people, the following should apply: Only with a negative test.”