Corona Crisis and its costs for the German Health Insurance System

style="float: right; margin-bottom: 10px; font-weight: 600;"Mon 30th Mar, 2020

Politicians, virologists and the leading health institutes in Germany expect 60 to 70 percent of the people in the country to become infected with the Corona Virus over the next one to two years. At the moment, the only issue is to slow down the spread so that the health system and infrastructure remain functional.

It is already clear that medical practices and hospitals are expecting a large number of corona patients who will need treatment and medication.

Even though health care is certainly the top priority, the statutory health insurance companies are already worried about the cost implications of the corona crisis. There is no question that these will be considerable if millions of people are expected to fall ill sooner or later. In many cases, the need for treatment should not be more dramatic than for a normal flu. In contrast, the situation is different for severe infections, where the spectrum of treatment ranges up to intensive care.

The cost of a test for the corona virus is only one of many possible components. A test costs between 150 and 300 euros and is being covered by health insurance companies since the end of February if there is a well-founded suspicion of corona. The private health insurers hadle this similarly. The actual treatment costs can be many times higher in more serious cases.
Right now, the health insurance funds are still having difficulties with a concrete assessment of the cost effects as there are still too many unknown factors that need to be put into the equation.

The corona crisis is hitting the health insurance companies in a deteriorating financial situation. After years of high revenue surpluses, in 2019 for the first time a deficit of about 1.5 billion euros was recorded. The reason for this is a significant increase in health care expenditure.

Nevertheless, most of the statutory health insurers are forgoing an increase in their additional contributions this year and are cushioning the deficit via their reserves, which fortunately are considerable. At the end of 2019 the reserve cushion amounted to 19.8 billion euros. A further reduction had been expected anyway. This could be accelerated by the corona crisis. Higher additional premiums as early as next year have thus become more likely. Additional costs will not leave the private health insurance system unaffected either. Here, however, a special, legally regulated adjustment mechanism applies. Depending on the tariff calculation, this can lead to a delay in the impact of corona costs on premiums.

If you are currently thinking about switching to private health insurance, the following links may help you with your decision:

Private Health Insurance Comparison Tool

Health Insurance for Foreigners in Germany

Private Health Insurance 101 and Request for Quote

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