Cash registers should introduce health cards quickly

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Coalition increases the pressure on health insurance companies: health cards should be distributed faster

According to a draft law by the black and yellow federal government, health insurance companies were obliged to distribute the new electronic health cards to at least 70 percent of all health insurance patients by the end of 2012. Health insurance companies that do not reach this level are to be fined severely. This is reported by the news agency "dpa", citing an existing draft law from the Federal Ministry of Health. By the end of this year, the cash registers should have already reached 10 percent, so that they will have to create another 60 percent in the coming year. With the amendment, the coalition wants to expand the regulation that has existed since the health reform in order to put pressure on the health insurers. Originally there was only talk of a 10 percent compliance rate by the end of this year. Now a new regulation is to expand the law by a further 60 percent by 2012.

The black and yellow federal government apparently wants to speed up the distribution of the new cash cards, since the project has stalled massively since 2006. The “Bildzeitung” first reported on this connection. By the end of the year, at least ten percent of the 70 million legally insured are to be issued with the health card. By the end of 2012, at least 70 percent of the insured should have received a new card. Otherwise there will be cuts in allocations. Some health insurance patients have already received the health insurance card with an electronic chip and passport photo. The National Association of Health Insurance (GKV) had announced that a large number of the cards would be sent out from October 1st. Insured persons must first fill out a form and send a passport photo. Numerous cover letters were sent months ago.

Hardly any more functions with the new health card At the moment, the functionality of the new card is hardly better than that of the old GKV card. All that is new is the passport photo and gender on the front of the cash card. Nothing should change for now. However, it is planned that doctor reports, X-rays, laboratory findings and the organ donation card will also be saved on the card. In a few years, experts estimate that general practitioners, specialists and clinics can download and access the data online from a health insurance server.

With the draft, the federal government plans to put the cash registers under enormous pressure. It says in the paper, "Health insurance companies that do not issue electronic health cards to at least 70 percent of their insured by the end of 2012 should not increase administrative costs in 2013 compared to 2012." In 2011 and 2012 there was already a stop Administrative expenditure of the cash register. It remains questionable whether, above all, financially stricken health insurers can keep up this fast pace. The total expenditure for the project is estimated at over 600 million euros. It remains unclear whether the costs will continue to rise.

With the introduction of the new card, politicians are hoping for cost savings in the millions. If the network with the online server is set up, expensive double examinations could be saved. Doctors would have quick access to laboratory examinations or MRI diagnoses that had already been carried out and could thus initiate more targeted treatments more quickly. To date, the data protection aspects are highly controversial. On the part of the cash registers, however, it says, “The data is transmitted in encrypted form. Only authorized doctors and hospitals have the key and the appropriate reading devices to record the patient's health data. ” Nevertheless, some critics criticize the storage of the highly sensitive data. It will take some time before all questions are finally resolved. The chair of the health insurance association GKV, Doris Pfeiffer emphasized that the saving only happens if the patient agrees. So if you don't want to, you won't be forced.

Health insurance companies criticize political threats Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) is considered a pioneer in the distribution of health cards. In previous field trials, the TK had already extensively tested the functionality of the readers and cards. The instructions from the Federal Ministry of Health can in any case comply with the TK, as a spokesman told the news agency. "We could have spent 70 percent at the end of next year, but the decisions must then be made as quickly as possible." The latter tip went to politicians, who are asked to immediately implement the draft as a law.

A spokeswoman for the box office association criticized the one-sided attitude of the legislature. "Further legal incentives are not necessary." After all, the health insurance companies are already very active and would fulfill their role well. The cash registers have no influence on the production and delivery processes. If such a mandatory quota comes, then it should "also apply to industry and doctors".

The health expert from the CDU, Jens Spahn, told the tabloid Bild: “The electronic health card is the largest IT project in Europe. We want to finally move it forward. ”The Federal Ministry of Food is still keeping a low profile. Such a regulation as mentioned is currently still being discussed. A spokeswoman for the ministry said: "The health insurers should continue to have incentives to push the project forward." (Sb)

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