More people without health insurance in Germany

The number of uninsured people has doubled in the past five years. The self-employed, jobseekers and homeless people are worst affected.

German <em>Krankenkasse</em>: great if you can get it.&nbsp;
German Krankenkasse: great if you can get it. dpa/Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Wiesbaden-Around 143,000 people in Germany lack health insurance coverage, according to recent figures published by the Federal Statistics Office. In 2015, that figure was still around 80,000. The numbers are gleaned from “health insurance data” collected every four years, which are based on a micro-census, an annual survey of around 1 per cent of all households.

In response to the new numbers, Bundestag member and deputy leader of party parliamentarians Sabine Zimmermann (Die Linke) demanded that a fund be set up to finance the treatment of uninsured people. "In addition, voluntary insured persons, such as the self-employed with low incomes, must see more relief from the burden of insurance costs," Zimmermann said on Facebook.

According to experts, the self-employed, job seekers and homeless people are those primarily affected. Both the Federal Ministry of Health and GKV, the central association of statutory health insurance providers, could not explain the increase.

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“Even if people cannot pay their health insurance premiums for personal reasons, they still should not lose their health insurance,” SHI spokesman Florian Lanz told the Saarbrücker Zeitung newspaper, which originally reported the story. Often, people without the means to pay for their health insurance can get their payments covered by the JobCenter or other welfare offices.

According to the Germany’s consumer advice centre, however, people who are behind on their health insurance payments are only entitled to emergency medical care.

More news in the Berliner Zeitung English Edition