The plans of Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) for higher additional contributions from statutory health insurance companies have met with widespread criticism. The main concern here is that without reforms there is a risk of further increases in the coming years. “Basically, we need expenditure-reducing structural reforms in all branches of social insurance,” said Markus Jerger, chairman of the Federal Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (BVMW). “Germany can no longer afford a further increase in health insurance contributions.” Already now you have the largest duty and tax burden in Europe.

The CEO of the health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit, Andreas Storm, said the “Bild”: “The minister has addressed a structural underfunding of the (statutory health insurance) GKV himself, but wants to solve half of the deficit with one-off measures.” This threatens the insured 2024 the next increase. The CSU health expert Stephan Pilsinger took the same line in the “Augsburger Allgemeine”: “The sometimes confused individual measures will not lead to the foreseeable contribution tsunami being stopped,” he said.

The Greens health expert Janosch Dahmen brought an increase in the contribution assessment ceiling into play. “We have to create more solidarity in the system,” said Dahmen of the German Press Agency. This year, the income threshold for statutory health insurance is 58,050 euros (4837.50 euros per month). An employee’s income is subject to contributions up to the contribution assessment limit; everything above that is non-contributory. “The state must improve the income side of statutory health insurance so that in the end it is not the contributors who plug the gaps.”

The President of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, proposed the introduction of a reduced rate of VAT on pharmaceuticals in order to significantly relieve the burden on health insurers. However, Lauterbach’s draft does not provide for this.

The Minister of Health announced on Tuesday that the average additional contribution in health insurance would probably increase by 0.3 percentage points in 2023. This is expected to bring in between 4.8 and five billion euros. The contribution increase should be part of a package of measures to cover a deficit of 17 billion euros in the statutory health insurance. There will be no cuts in performance.

The average additional contribution is currently 1.3 percent – the specific amount is determined by the health insurance companies themselves. The total contribution of the insured includes the general rate of 14.6 percent of the gross salary.