An interministerial working group headed by Federal Health Minister Philipp Rösler is to draw up suggestions for health reform by the second half of 2010, states BVMed’s latest newsletter. The German medical technology industry association writes that according to experts’ opinion, the foundation of the reform should be a separation of health costs from wage costs. Thus, it is a question of fixing the employers’ share and introducing a health premium, backed up by tax compensation. Up to now, a gradual introduction of a premium instead of employers’ contributions, which is to be identical for all insured parties, was being discussed. Children and spouses who are not working are to continue to be co-insured free of contributions. This sounds like a relatively high premium with little financial leeway, says BVMed. The new reform is to take effect on 1 January 2011.
The German government has also given a further “crisis-induced subsidy” of 3.9 billion euro for Statutory Health Insurance (SHI) in 2010. SHI now has an additional tax funding to a total amount of 15.7 billion euro at its disposal in 2010.
In addition, the BVMed newsletter reports an increase of 5.2 percent in the number of procedures performed on hospital patients in Germany in 2008 compared with 2007. In 2008 approximately 41.8 million operations and medical procedures were performed; one third of those procedures were operations (13.7 million). Approximately 1100 diagnosis related groups are reimbursable, and the twenty most common ones make up a quarter of the overall number.Annie Ellerton