Million savings in private health insurance

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Pharmaceutical discounts enable PKV to save millions

Private health insurance companies (PKV) benefit significantly from the expansion of drug discounts. Since the beginning of the year, private health insurance companies have also been able to negotiate drug discounts with manufacturers. According to the PKV Scientific Institute, this will result in savings of millions in pharmaceutical expenditure.

According to the PKV's scientific institute, savings of 161 million euros will result in 2011, which corresponds to a 6.9 percent reduction in pharmaceutical expenditure compared to the previous year. The measures taken by the federal government to strengthen the competitiveness of private health insurance clearly bear fruit, but at the same time more and more statutory health insurance companies (GKV) are struggling with considerable difficulties, as was demonstrated by the recent bankruptcy of City BKK.

161 million euros savings in pharmaceutical expenditure The expansion of pharmaceutical discounts to private health insurance is expected to result in savings of around 161 million euros by the end of 2011, according to calculations by the scientific institute of private health insurance. This would reduce the private medical insurance companies' pharmaceutical expenditure by almost seven percent compared to 2010. The private health insurance funds had to pay full prices by the beginning of the year, but the changes in the drug discount law as part of the health care reform now also allow private health insurance companies to negotiate discounts with manufacturers. Until now, this option was reserved for statutory health insurers. The costs of expenditure per regulation therefore developed very differently for the PKV and the GKV. Private health insurance companies had to spend an average of 10.2 percent per drug prescription in 2009 than the statutory health insurers. According to the Scientific Institute, this difference between the pharmaceutical expenses of the PKV and the GKV will probably be put into perspective by the expansion of drug discounts by the end of the year and will decrease to 7.7 percent.

Differences in medication expenditure between private health insurance and statutory health insurance. Thus, the private health insurance companies still have to pay significantly more for the same medicinal products than the statutory health insurance, but the gap is beginning to close, according to the PKV Scientific Institute. The current reduction in pharmaceutical expenditure is an extremely gratifying development for the private health insurers, since the costs in the pharmaceutical sector have always been one of the main cost drivers in recent years. In the run-up to the health care reform at the end of last year, the private health insurance funds, through their association, had massively pushed for an expansion of drug discounts. The federal government from the CDU, CSU and FDP had followed the request and passed a corresponding amendment to the drug discount law. However, the statutory health insurance companies will continue to record less expenditure per drug regulation in the future, since their discount contracts have a significantly different scope and the cash discount for pharmacies is only granted to statutory health insurers, according to the PKV Scientific Institute. In addition, pharmacies are legally obliged to dispose of these drugs under GKV drug discount contracts, whereas there are no comparable legal regulations for PKV. Overall, however, the expansion of drug discounts significantly strengthened the competitive position of private health insurance companies. (fp)

Also read:
PKV expects full insurance to increase
Consumer advocates warn of low tariffs for private health insurance
Health insurance companies block insurance bills
PKV: No return for students in the SHI

Image: Margot Kessler /

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