Dramatic drop in German health insurance funds:
This article was originally published in Clinica
Following German reunification, a flurry of mergers has seen the number of statutory health insurance funds fall from 1,209 in 1991 to 324 this year, says the German economic institute in Cologne. In the west the number fell from 1,135 to 331 in 2002 and in the east from 74 to only 24. The main aim of the mergers was to cut costs and bureaucracy, but this has not happened. Last year administration costs per fund member was more than the overall expenditure on medical procedures. Health minister Ulla Schmidt is therefore pressing for the number of health insurance funds to be further reduced to a total of only 50.