01.02.2021  |   Advisory Report

Statutory definition of non-contributory benefits required

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The federal government pays a grant to statutory health insurers to cover their expenses on non-contributory benefits. Such benefits are not defined. There is no assurance on whether the amount of grant funding is appropriate for this purpose.

The term ‘non-contributory benefit’ is not defined by statutory law. It is therefore impossible to verify whether the level of annual federal grant funding is appropriate or not. In the longer run, this may lead to uncertainties and risks in assessing the financial situation of statutory health insurers and impact on the future leeway for federal budget legislation.

We demand more transparency from policymakers. The government should determine by statutory law what non-contributory benefits qualify for federal lump-sum grants.

The federal government has granted payments to statutory health insurance bodies since 2004 in order to help cover their expenditures on non-contributory benefits. The annual grant amount varies. Given the positive economic trend, the payments were increased both by €3.9 billion in 2010 and €2 billion in 2011. In 2014 and 2015, the grant was reduced by an aggregate of €5.9 billion to help balance the federal budget. In the pandemic year 2020, payments hit the all-time high of €18 billion.

Statutory definition of non-contributory benefits required