Two health insurers threatened with bankruptcy



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Two health insurance companies are on the brink of bankruptcy: City BKK and Vereinigte IKK

Just two years after the introduction of the health fund, two statutory health insurance companies have run into serious financial difficulties. As the Handelsblatt reports, the first accounting quarter of 2011 decides whether the City BKK company health insurance fund is to be closed or to continue. The United IKK has already applied for grants in the millions to ensure that the insured can be cared for.

Insolvency decision at City BKK in May Two statutory health insurance companies in Germany are apparently in serious financial trouble. For at least one health insurance company, City BKK with its headquarters in Stuttgart, a closure could be pending in May. Last year, the fund was the first SHI to introduce an additional contribution of eight euros per month and member. Because the health fund's financial allocations were not sufficient, the health fund had to increase the additional contribution by five euros at the beginning of 2011 to a total of 15 euros. With the introduction of the new additional contribution, "we expect around 20,000 fewer members of the health insurance fund," said a spokesman for City BKK. The cashier, however, rejected speculations as to whether the till would be closed. Finally, the quarterly result must be awaited. Only then will the Federal Insurance Office decide whether to close the company health insurance. A final result is expected in early May.

Oliver Reke took over as treasurer on March 1 of this year. He thus solved the interim board of Dr. Bernhard Amshoff, because the old board resigned in November due to the miserable situation. If there were to be an early insolvency, the new board would have little opportunity to implement structural reforms. The position would be short-lived.

The Federal Association of Company Health Insurance Funds (BKK) is less optimistic about the future. Here one assumes a closure. The debts and ongoing treatment costs would then have to be borne by the other funds in the network. For the insured themselves, however, there is no threatening situation, as the health economists assure, statutory health insurance companies are obliged to accept the members regardless of their health or family status if the City BKK closes.

Financial aid required for the United IKK The second largest guild health insurer, the United IKK, has also got into financial difficulties. The fund has already submitted a grant application to the Association of Guild Funds. As the United IKK announced, the allocations from the health fund are no longer sufficient to guarantee the care of around 1.6 million health insurers in the future. As reported by internal cash register circles, the cash register needs financial aid of around 50 million euros to mitigate an insolvency risk. No decision has yet been taken on this application within the IKK network. In April last year, the health insurance fund aimed to merge with IKK Classic. The merger was canceled due to the miserable financial situation of the United IKK.

Membership loss due to additional contributions While the United IKK waived additional contributions and thereby even recorded a slight increase in membership (plus 26,000), the City BKK literally runs away from the insured. But both health insurance companies suffer primarily from their own membership structure. At City BKK, many members live in Hamburg and Berlin. In the big cities, the treatment costs of doctors and clinics are naturally higher than the national average. In addition, older and chronically ill people are insured in the City BKK. That means high expenses and comparatively low income. The additional contribution has also provoked a sharp decline in members. (sb)

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Two health insurance companies are broke

Picture: Gerd Altmann

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