Thursday, March 14, 2013

Health Insurance

Techniker Krankenkasse one of the better health insurances in Germany


Here in Germany there are two health insurance systems. One is governmentally connected (there are still several different insurance companies though) and the other one is private with at least equally many companies/providers available.
You, if you are registered and living in Germany, are however not allowed to chose to go either governmental or private. If you make a certain amount of money or you are self-employed then you can go private. In every other case you will have the governmental insurance.

In the past there was actually a difference between the governmental insurances and they were taking a broad variation in %-age from your salary. Today it has become homogenized and all those governmental insurance company takes 14.9% of your salary every month. On your salary slip you see that you pay 7% for the health insurance and then your employer are paying an additional 7.9% on top which you do not see. For these 14.9% you receive an in my opinion very good health care treatment and I have not heard about anyone being refused something or that they have been forced to wait in line for a long time for receiving their operations etc.
What I have started to notice lately is that some of the governmental insurance companies have become clever and I even find it embarrassing to see that the governmental companies are pushing this but NOT the private. So to exclude themselves from actually having a cost of 14.9% and to make some money they are now making preventative care and are seriously informing their customers about the preventative care that they offer.
As an excellent example I would like to bring up Techniker Krankenkasse. When people are close to going into the wall (being burned out) then they send them to a health resort for two to three weeks. If the person would have gone into the wall they will be gone for at least three to six months and by breaking their current life pattern (with a visit to a health resort) in the end you don´t only get a healthier working person contributing to society but you also save a lot of money. Classical win win situation. They also pay for special food courses that teaches you to make healthy food, they even pay for Yoga lessons which today is getting more and more important when people are only sitting on their chairs infront of their computers and destroying their backs. Clever of them! Very clever indeed!

I used to be with the Techiker Krankenkasse but since two years back, I am self-employed, I now have a private insurance. It is really not for my sake but to save the company the expense of those 7.9% for health insurance, saving it from paying unemployment money as well as retirement money. Since I went private I must say that I have only been unhappy with the few treatments that I have received. In every case the doctor has over-treated me and been giving me much more than what I asked for and I have always received a heavily salted bill from them. As a real example... as background my brother is working as a medical doctor in one of the nordic countries. Here in Germany they wanted to make an operation on me. It is an operation that makes very little sense since the problem re-appears within a couple of years again (polyps in the nose). Here in Germany the doctor wanted to completely anesthetize me and keep me for five days in the hospital at the cost of 10,000 €. Those 10,000 € I directly have to pay and then my insurance company will pay back 75% and the remaining 25% will be on me. I still look upon this total cost as being five days hospitalized + a cost of 10,000 € for what? Three years of no/less snoring and better breathing through my nose before it grows back again? I find that crazy so I refused to do it. I then talked to my brother and back home the treatment was local anesthesia with a 30 minutes operation and the patient walks home the same day. So... do I feel that I get better health care by being privately insured here in Germany. No, No and just one more time No!

The reason why this post even got started was due to that I yesterday received a letter from my current private health insurance company. That by the way are paying for zero preventative care and are pushing every thread available to prevent you from going to the doctor. So yesterday I got a letter telling me that if I did not go to the medical doctor for the next one year and 10 months then I would receive a bonus of 320 €. *sigh* This means that I should not even go and make a yearly check up because if I do then I loose the right to the bonus. How messed up is this on a scale from 1 to 10?

If it wouldn´t have been for my company I would directly have been back to the clever insurance companies such as Techniker Krankenkasse... but I currently cannot.

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