Health insurance in 2023

Every second person with health insurance is toying with the idea of changing providers

Health insurance will become more expensive in 2023 – and in the current situation of inflation and rising costs, this also increases the willingness to switch providers. More than half of the insured want to look for another insurer if necessary in the course of the premium increase, according to the representative study “Contribution increase and willingness to change in the statutory health insurance 2022” by the management consultancy Horváth. This applies to both statutory and private providers.

The health insurance companies are heading for a record deficit of – depending on the estimate – 17 to 20 billion euros in 2023, the additional contribution is to increase by 0.3 percentage points for everyone. At the same time, the cost of living and energy prices are rising massively. In this situation, the willingness of those with statutory health insurance to switch to another health insurance company to save money also increases. This is shown by a representative study by the management consultancy Horváth.

60 percent of those with statutory health insurance are thinking about switching

Almost 60 percent of those surveyed are considering changing providers to save money. Private insurers could also benefit from this. 45 percent want to switch to another health insurance company and another 14 percent to private health insurance.

“In earlier surveys, it was mainly single people who regularly examined their health insurance company in terms of value for money. Now the vast majority are families who are considering a change due to the increased cost of living,” says Simon Arne Manner, head of the study and partner at the management consultancy Horváth. In single households, the willingness to switch is just under 50 percent, in households with children over 70 percent, as the study shows.

The problem: Almost all health insurance companies are forced to raise prices. And so the differences in the additional contribution will be expected to be small. “Compared to savings measures in energy or mobility costs, switching to a health insurance company with a slightly lower premium does not have a very large effect, even in a large family. If you look closely at the services and additional offers, the contributions differ only minimally. And as the study shows, the insured do not want to make any compromises when it comes to benefits,” explains Manner. And further: “The cost pressure leads in the population and especially in families, whose living costs have increased enormously, but to great pressure to act to have to save at every possible point.”

Even if the planned premium adjustment is the reason for many respondents to switch, this does not automatically mean that they will switch to the insurer with the cheapest total premium. Overall, across all respondents, the criterion “low costs” is slightly ahead of “better care offers” (62 percent to 58 percent importance). In the case of families, however, it is exactly the opposite: Here, at 56 percent, the care is just ahead of the low costs (55 percent), because the change should not mean any compromises in the quality of care.

Also privately insured willing to change

The study indicates that privately insured people are willing to look for a new provider – or, if necessary, a different tariff. Because across all insured persons, both legally and privately, 56 percent are considering a change. However, the options here are often limited. Keyword health check: previous illnesses and an older age are often “punished” with premium surcharges when a new provider is sought. Saved aging provisions are also lost in whole or in part.

Here it is more likely that those insured with private health insurance will make use of their right to switch to a cheaper tariff for their own insurance with a similar scope of services – taking the old-age provisions with them. Section 204 of the Insurance Contract Act (VVG) grants this right to switch. The insurer can only demand a new health check or a risk premium if the customer insists on additional services. In fact, some insurers have lower tariffs in their portfolio with which they want to attract young and healthy high earners.

Background: For the Horváth study “Contribution increase and willingness to change in statutory health insurance 2022” in August 2022, a total of 1,000 German citizens were asked representatively according to age, region, gender and household size about their intention to change in the course of planned contribution increases.

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