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Mass coronavirus testing could cost health insurance funds 7,6 billion euros

Mass coronavirus testing could cost health insurance funds 7,6 billion euros

Mass coronavirus testing could cost health insurance funds 7,6 billion euros

Statutory health insurance companies in Germany are warning that the planned expansion of coronavirus testing will add considerably to their costs this year - and may force them to increase their premiums. 

Jens Spahn planning mass coronavirus testing in Germany

Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn is currently calling for systematic coronavirus testing in daycare centres, schools, hospitals and nursing homes across Germany. This means that, whenever new coronavirus cases are detected, as many people as possible from the surrounding area should be tested, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or not. 

Last Wednesday, Spahn submitted a draft regulation to set this plan in motion. The question of financing, however, is causing a dispute: are coronavirus tests a statutory health insurance benefit or something every individual is entitled to? And what contribution should private health insurance companies make? 

Mass testing could force health insurers to raise premiums

According to a statement released this week by the umbrella association representing all statutory health insurance companies in Germany, the planned mass testing could cost them up to 7,6 billion euros this year alone.

State health insurance funds are already facing major financial challenges. On the one hand, service expenditure has fallen with the postponement of millions of routine operations and patients’ ongoing reluctance to visit their doctors. On the other hand, however, the companies are facing a slump in revenues as incomes fall nationwide. 

They are therefore warning that - unless the government steps in to help out with the costs of mass testing - they will be forced to increase their premiums by up to 0,8 percentage points. They are also dismissing Spahn’s projected cost of 52,50 euros per coronavirus test as “significantly too high” and demanding that the laboratories be paid less. 

Expanding coronavirus testing was “a correct step in terms of content,” said a spokesperson for the GKV umbrella organisation, but they maintain that testing symptom-free people is not their responsibility and must therefore be paid for by revenue from taxation

Abi

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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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