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That will change in 2019 in healthcare
With the turn of the year and during the first months of 2019, important new regulations in the healthcare sector will come into force. Among other things, the additional contributions from the statutory health insurers will now be paid equally by employers and employees, small self-employed will be relieved of the contributions and the waiting times for specialist appointments should be reduced in the future. The most important changes at a glance.
The Health Knowledge Foundation has summarized the most important changes in the health sector for the coming year in a press release. Most people will probably first notice the new regulation of the additional health insurance contributions. From January 1, 2019, the additional contribution rates to cover costs incurred by the statutory health insurance funds will be shared between employees and employers. So far, the insured had to bear these costs alone. On average, these costs amount to 0.9 percent of the contributory income.
Small self-employed pay less contributions
Entrepreneurs and self-employed with little income often had to pay disproportionately high contributions to their health insurance companies. From 2019, the minimum contributions for the self-employed will be treated as equivalent to those of the voluntarily insured in the statutory health insurance funds. According to the Health Knowledge Foundation, the minimum contribution to health insurance for the self-employed drops from EUR 360 to around EUR 156.
Income limit for private health insurance is increasing
Civil servants, self-employed, students and freelancers can switch to private health insurance at any time. Employees can only do this from a certain income. In 2018, this was an annual income of at least 59,400 euros. The limit will be raised to 60,750 euros in 2019. In addition, the so-called contribution assessment limit, which indicates the salary up to which the contributions to the statutory health insurance companies increase as a percentage. In 2019, the upper limit will be raised from 53,100 euros in annual income to 54,450 euros.
Appointment Service and Supply Act comes into force
The so-called Appointment Service and Supply Act is to come into force on April 1, 2019. Among other things, this law obliges doctors to offer at least 25 consultation hours per week for patients in statutory health insurance. Until now, specialists were only obliged to give 20 consultations per week. In addition, resident specialists such as gynecologists, eye or ear, nose and throat doctors should offer at least one five-hour open consultation per week without appointments.
Social care insurance is becoming more expensive
The contribution to social long-term care insurance will be increased from January 1, 2019. Insured persons will now pay half a percent more in the future. Thus, the costs amount to 3.05 percent of gross income. Insured persons without children now pay 3.3 percent of their income.
Organized colorectal cancer screening
The early detection of colorectal cancer is expected to be improved from summer 2019. Men over 50 years of age and women over 55 years of age will then receive an invitation from their health insurers for a free colon cancer screening. The insured also receive information on investigations, data protection, rights of objection and program assessments.
The laws on organ donation are to be changed in mid-2019. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn wants to implement the so-called double contradiction solution. This means that everyone becomes an organ donor if they do not actively object to it.
Patients are now legally entitled to a second medical opinion for tonsil surgery and removal of the uterus. Doctors then have to hand out, among other things, all documents relating to the findings. In the future, this right should also be extended to other operations that can be planned.
As of January 2019, those in need of care from level three onwards should have their bills simplified if they take a taxi to the doctor. With the issue of the level of care, these costs are considered approved in the future and do not have to be applied for separately. (vb)