The more than 57 million members of statutory health insurance (GKV) will have to pay a significantly higher contribution in 2023. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) announced on Tuesday an increase in the average additional contribution by 0.3 percentage points to 1.6 percent. The health insurers themselves determine the specific amount of their respective additional contribution.

Together with the general contribution rate of currently 14.6 percent, a maximum of 16.2 percent of the gross salary would have to be paid for health insurance. The contribution to the GKV was not that high.

This is expected to bring in between 4.8 and five billion euros. There will be no cuts in performance. Lauterbach justified the increase with a deficit of around 17 billion euros, which otherwise threatens the GKV in the coming year.

An increased tax subsidy of two billion euros and a federal loan of one billion euros should also help to cover the deficit. In addition, other reserves would have to be addressed – such reserves are still available both in the health fund and in the individual health insurance funds.

“We are really in a difficult situation,” said Lauterbach. “There are still about four billion reserves in the cash registers that we can and will use.” In the fund there are 2.4 billion euros.

In addition, greater efficiency should save money. Around three billion euros would be raised from efficiency improvements. According to Lauterbach, a solidarity levy from the pharmaceutical industry should be emphasized here, which has recently been able to record considerable increases in sales.

A one-off levy of one billion euros is being targeted.

The average additional contribution will be finally determined by an official group of appraisers in autumn. This year, the coffers will already receive an increased federal subsidy of 28.5 billion euros.

The average additional contribution should therefore be kept at 1.3 percent for the time being. The total contribution also includes the general rate of 14.6 percent of gross wages.

“I essentially inherited this deficit from my predecessor,” said Lauterbach, referring to former Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU).

This made expensive expansion of services and refrained from structural reforms. His proposal is now going to the departmental vote. Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has already agreed.

At the beginning of the month, the central association of statutory health insurance companies (GKV) attributed the expected deficit of billions for 2023 to political decisions, among other things. Laws for more nursing staff or shorter waiting times at the doctor’s alone led to permanent additional costs of five billion euros per year. Now the head of the association, Doris Pfeiffer, said:

“The key points presented today give the statutory health insurance system at best a financial respite.” The depletion of reserves is “not solid and sustainable financing”.

Strong criticism came from the employers. The cornerstones are disappointing and would amount to a sleight of hand, said the managing director of her association BDA, Steffen Kampeter.