Premium increases of up to 50% have many Germans reconsidering their private health insurance policies, with many considering switching to a national health plan.
The news magazine Der Spiegel reported that many health insurance companies increased the price of their policies at the start of 2012, and that is the primary motivation for people to switch.
The AOK, Germany’s biggest public health insurance organisation with around 24 million members, has reported an increase in enquiries. Several other public insurers have seen a similar increase.
Germany has laws governing medical insurance, and people are only allowed to switch between private and public policies in exceptional circumstances.
People who have lost their job are allowed to change from public to private, as can those whose salary level falls below € 45,900. Those moving from self-employed work to a full-time job with a similar pay are also granted permission to change.
Another public health organisation, Barmer GEK, has reported that around 27,600 people have made the switch to public health insurance from private in 2011. This is a 9% rise on the figure reported in 2010.