Chaos expected with new health card

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The umbrella association of statutory health insurance expects real chaos with the introduction of the new electronic health card. The chairwoman of the health insurance association accused the Federal Minister of Health of "uneconomical behavior". If the health insurance companies refuse to do so, they face severe penalties in the millions.

The umbrella association of statutory health insurance companies criticizes the planned coercive measures for the introduction of the electronic health card. The representatives of the health insurance companies expect a real chaos during the introduction, the sufferers are the patients and health insurance companies.

Introduction of the new health insurance cards in 2011 The Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler is putting pressure on: The new electronic health cards are to be introduced in 2011. The health insurance companies are to introduce the new health insurance card under the threat of high fines. At least ten percent of patients should have an electronic card by the end of the year. Health insurance companies raise the alarm and fear real chaos. Many medical practices are not prepared for the new health cards at all.

Rösler wants to force health insurances to introduce the Federal Health Minister Philipp Rösler (FDP) wants to force the statutory health insurances to equip at least 10 percent of the insured with the new health cards before the end of 2011. Otherwise, the health minister threatened, the health insurance companies would have to pay fines in the millions. With the implementation, Rösler wants to bring the planned health care reform under the roof more quickly. But the Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance (GKV) opposes this and criticizes the massive project. The chairman of the GKV Association, Doris Pfeiffer, said that the Federal Minister of Health should rethink his plans and stop the introduction of the electronic health card. Pfeiffer criticized Rösler's plans were "uneconomical" from an economic point of view and would lead to chaos in the doctor's offices. Many doctors do not have such special reading devices. Statutory health insurance patients would be forced to bring two health insurance cards with them at the same time so that comprehensive health care is guaranteed.

However, the claims of the health insurance companies appear to have evaporated in the Ministry of Health. On the contrary, should the health insurances not reach the prescribed 10 percent quota, the minister threatens severe penalties. The individual health insurance companies would have to pay up to 178 million euros if they did not meet the specified quota. For small health insurance companies, this threat could endanger their existence. Doris Pfeiffer warned: If such sanctions actually became a reality, it could happen that many health insurance funds cut numerous jobs.

Financial disadvantages for health insurance companies expected Some of the already badly shaken health insurance companies do not yet know whether they might have to charge additional contributions in order to be able to compensate for the deficit in the insurance companies. If the plans of the Ministry of Health now also have to be implemented under threat of punishment, this appears to be a mockery of many health insurers. Because it has not yet been clarified whether the new health cards will remain in this form. After all, the requirements for such a process are constantly changing, so it cannot be ruled out that the type and functionality will change again. So far, there has been only one pilot project in which the card was tested by insured persons in North Rhine-Westphalia. To make matters worse, all doctor's offices must first be equipped with new reading devices. Because the new product cannot be introduced so quickly, the insured would always have to carry two health insurance cards with them. All in all, this results in additional expenditure of around 50 million euros.

Electronic health card already possible in 2011 The new electronic health card will have a photo of the insured person and a chip. Since the process is not yet fully developed, the mode of operation will not be any different from that of conventional cards. So far it has always been agreed that the nationwide supply of health cards should only take place when all practices are adequately supplied with reading devices. (sb, Nov 8, 2010)

Also read:
Electronic health card warning

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