From 1 January 2011 the following increase has been applied to contribution rates:
- Public health insurance contributions are increasing from 14.9 % to 15.5 % of the employee's gross monthly wage. As contributions are split 50%/50% between employers and employees, each will owe 0.3% more each month.
However, importantly, in future the employer's contribution to health insurance will be "frozen" (i.e. any further rises in insurance contributions will be borne by the employees alone).
Moreover, health insurance funds can now demand unlimited "additional contributions" from individual members/employees (previously such demands for additional contributions were capped at 1% of the employee's gross monthly wage). It is expected that claims for such additional contributions will rise as a result of the increasing costs associated with hospitals, doctors and dentists. To prevent employees being overburdened by such additional costs, the 18 month "tie in" period has been scrapped (meaning employees are free to switch to a cheaper insurer at any time if the costs of their current insurer become unaffordable).
The current changes have been described as a temporary fix by analysts. Due to Germany's aging population, increases in health insurance contributions are likely to continue for many years to come.