BHealth Minister Karl Lauterbach has defended the plans for a care reform in order to achieve relief and more stable financing. “Those in need of care deserve our full solidarity,” said the SPD politician of the German Press Agency. “Since the costs of good care are increasing, the community of solidarity must not look the other way and leave these higher costs to those being cared for and their relatives.” In the homes, but especially in the care at home, the services must also be significantly improved. “At the same time, it is important to stabilize the financing of statutory long-term care insurance.”
According to a draft by the ministry, the care contribution is to be increased “moderately by 0.35 percentage points” on July 1st. It is currently 3.05 percent of gross wages, and 3.4 percent for people without children. At the same time, according to a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, the contribution rate should be more differentiated according to the respective number of children. On January 1, 2024, the care allowance for those in need of care at home is to increase by five percent. For those in need of care in the home, existing relief surcharges are then to be increased.
Lauterbach said: “In a humane society, caring for the elderly must be worth more to us. We will not accept the fact that more and more people are slipping into social assistance after a busy life.”
Criticism from associations and opposition
The draft has already met with a lot of criticism from the opposition, health insurance companies and patient representatives. The social association VdK urgently called for more support for those in need of care at home. “Adjusting the care allowance by five percent is not enough given the current price increases,” said President Verena Bentele of the editorial network Germany (RND). Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) warned against passing on deficits to the contributors. “Employees and employers are not infinitely resilient,” he told the RND and called for non-insurance services to be financed with tax subsidies.
According to the draft, the stronger differentiation of the contribution according to the number of children would mean that families with three or more children would pay less than they do now. The contribution rate for people with children is currently 3.05 percent – of which employers and employees each pay 1.525 percent. In the future, the contribution for families with three children would be 3.10 percent – 1.40 percent for them and 1.70 percent for the employer.
Overall, there would be a larger difference between contributions with and without children on July 1st – due to the increase in the general contribution by 0.35 points and at the same time an increase in the supplement for childless persons by 0.25 points. According to an overview of the ministry available to the dpa, this led to the contribution without children increasing from 3.40 percent to 4.00 percent – of which 1.70 percent for the employer and 2.30 percent for the employer.