Additional contributions: Up to 225 euros for late payment

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Anyone who does not pay the additional contribution from the health insurance company can expect to pay a penalty of up to EUR 225 in the future.

(18.08.2010) As part of the health care reform, the federal government plans to impose a penalty if insured persons do not pay the additional contribution from their health insurance. According to media reports, up to a million people are currently refusing to pay the additional contributions. These include the DAK with more than 4.5 million insured and the KKH Allianz with around 1.5 million. According to a draft law, the penalty surcharge will in future be between 30 and 225 euros. The health care reform is to be implemented from 2011.

The health insurance companies complain that more and more people are not paying the additional contribution of the health insurance companies. "Ten percent of our members have not yet paid the additional contribution," complains a spokesman for the health insurance company DAK. 16 of the statutory health insurance companies currently charge an additional contribution in addition to the regular contribution. The additional contribution must be transferred directly by the health insurance patients. Most health insurers charge a flat fee of eight euros per month from their members.

It was already announced yesterday that the black-yellow coalition wants to charge a so-called default penalty due to the large number of defaulting payers. In the afternoon, specific amounts were also announced. The penalty fee should therefore be at least 30 euros. Those who are financially better off may face a surcharge of 225 euros if they have not paid the additional contribution in the past six months. At least that is the planning in the course of the health care reform.

Some health insurance companies charge an additional contribution because the current financial expenditure exceeds the income. If the financial aid from the health fund is not sufficient, the health insurance companies must demand an additional contribution from their members. The federal government plans that the health insurance companies can determine the maximum additional contribution themselves in the future. By the way, Hartz IV recipients should be exempted from the additional contributions from 2011.

Those who do not pay are currently receiving so-called reminders or will be contacted directly by phone. If you still do not respond, you will receive further reminders. If the defaulter still does not respond, the health insurance company could initiate enforcement proceedings. However, it has not yet become known that a health insurance company actually takes such coercive measures. Because the effort is far too great when you consider that these are minimal sums. "But that would be a very big effort - especially when you consider that in most cases the amount involved is eight euros," said Kai Vogel from the North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Center to "Welt Online".

The health insurance companies themselves are not pleased that the additional contributions are not automatically collected with the regular contribution. Many members do not understand the procedure or simply do not know why they should transfer the additional amount. The cash registers also lack the necessary infrastructure. "We had to build a completely new account system because we have to collect the additional contributions from our customers directly," said a spokeswoman for "BKK Gesundheit". Now the health insurers are hoping for politicians who have at least recognized the problem and now want to act. The planned late payment would be a start, so that missing contributions can still be collected.

Do insured persons have to expect to fly out of the statutory health insurance system if they don't pay? The answer is no, because there is an insurance obligation in Germany. At most, the health insurance funds can reduce health care to emergency care if a member is at least three months behind. So far, however, it is not known that individual health insurance companies have already resorted to this drastic means. (sb)

Also read:
Around 1 million refuse to pay an additional contribution
PKV: New regulations should make change easier
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