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Germany's Healthcare System: An Overview Essay

2308 words - 10 pages

Germany's Healthcare System: An Overview
Bradley Webster
American Sentinel
Professor Kehm

Germany's Healthcare System: An Overview

Germany has long been regarded has having a very efficient and cost effective healthcare system. In this essay several aspects of this system will be evaluated from what works well to what doesn’t. Despite Germany’s highly functional healthcare system they too are going to have to face the challenges that every other developed country is facing: a growing elder population and the ever increasing costs of healthcare in conjunction with a waning economy.
Alarming statistics, such as the following, will demand Germanys attention as well as the ...view middle of the document...

The funds are not part of government, although they are highly regulated entities of national legislation, nor are the mandatory premiums that finance the funds viewed by the public as taxes. Germany demonstrates that the line between public and private institutions and between taxes and premiums is not as clear in Germany as they are other countries like United States. The fuzziness of the line allows Germany to use private organizations to achieve many social goals (Cuellar, 1999, p. 46). This is a very important distinction to recognize along with Germany’s culture having a fundamental belief system that healthcare is a human right and therefore should naturally be handled by national legislation. These significant factors enable reforms to come about with much greater ease, as compared to the US, who do not share these qualities.

With the exception of about 2 million permanent civil servants, and the self-employed Germans who earn below Euro 3,862 gross salary per month in 2004 must join one of the 300 statuary sickness funds. Those above the mandatory insurance threshold may opt out of the state system and buy private insurance instead but many opt to remain in the state system only 10% choose to purchase private insurance (Green, Irvine, & Cackett, 2005). What motivates those Germans who make greater than Euro 3,862 to remain in the state system is unclear. Some theories could be, possessing a sense of community duty in knowing that they will be contributing to the greater good by doing so or perhaps the personal expense of purchasing a private plan is too great. In consideration of the unemployed German, unemployed Germans are separated into two groups, those who previously worked and those who have not. Those who previously worked are included in the national insurance system (but instead of the employer paying 50% of the cost of the sickness fund it’s paid for from unemployment benefits.) One does wonder, if this being the case, does that 50% get taken from the individuals unemployment benefit? ) For the one third of unemployed Germans who have never worked a social fund which pays doctors directly or a last resort local sickness fund is utilized to provide healthcare to that population (Green et al., 2005).

Healthcare: Cost to the Individual German

German sickness funds are required to be financially self - sufficient and premiums are set as a percentage of annual income. The percentage varies from fund to fund with 13% being the average. The premiums are deducted from pay packets with employers and employees paying half each. As of 2004 the Germans enacted co pays into their healthcare system. This involves Germans having to pay 10 Euro ( per quarter, every 3 months ) to see a GP, 10 Euro per day as a co pay in hospital with a max of 28 days and 10 % for drug prescriptions not exceeding 10 Euros … but total annual co pays never exceed 1 % of a German’s yearly income("Sick Around The," n.d.). Examples of...

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