Change of private health insurance does not always make sense

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Switching to private health insurance (PKV) does not always make sense.

(07/22/2010) The federal government is planning to make it easier to switch from statutory health insurance to private health insurance (PKV). Due to the increase in health insurance contributions, many insured people are thinking about switching from statutory health insurance to private health insurance. But be careful, switching to private health insurance is associated with some risks and could become more expensive later than planned. The Association of Insured (BdV) also warns against rushing to change, as private health insurance is not always cheaper, even if private health insurers lure with entry-level offers. Because in old age and when children join in family planning, private health insurance is often more expensive.

Private health insurance companies like to lure you with inexpensive offers. At first it looks as if a private health insurance is cheaper than a regular statutory health insurance. Even if the statutory health insurance companies increase their contribution rates to 15.5 percent of gross wages from January 2011, private insurance is often more expensive over time. As the Association of Insureds announced, these offers are actually only cheaper for young adults without children. Because private health insurances do not calculate their contributions according to income, but according to risk and supply. But if important factors change, higher contributions result.

For example, families are not insured with private health insurance. This means that unemployed spouses or children cannot be insured. Lilo Blunck, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of Insureds, warns: "But as soon as there is a child, it will be expensive. Unlike the statutory health insurance, private individuals do not have any contribution-free co-insurance, for example for children." Separate PKV health insurance policies must then be taken out for children. If the spouse is insured in the GKV, but earns less than the privately insured person, then no family insurance with the GKV comes about. Only in the opposite case can children be co-insured with the GKV-insured parent.

In addition, the contributions usually increase with age. If one becomes chronically ill in old age, the private health insurance contributions continue to skyrocket. It can easily happen that the private health insurance contributions double or even triple. Therefore, a change should be carefully considered. You should also compare all offers carefully beforehand. If you have changed once, the way to the statutory health insurance is blocked forever. (sb)

Also read:
Is it easy to switch to private health insurance?
Warning of switching to low-cost private health insurance
Switch to private health insurance now?
Health insurance contributions are increased

Image: Margot Kessler /

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Video: Transforming Health Care: Understanding the Affordable Care Act and What Might Come Next


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