Federal Minister of Health 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." To finance the care contribution is to be increased on July 1st and, according to a constitutional court ruling, to make a stronger distinction according to whether you have children or not. Larger families would benefit from this.
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." In homes, but especially in the case of care at home, services must be significantly improved. At the same time, it is important to stabilize the financing of long-term care insurance.
According to a draft by the ministry, the general contribution is to be increased "moderately by 0.35 percentage points" as of July 1st. It is still 3.05 percent of gross wages, and 3.40 percent for people without children. At the same time, a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, according to which parents with several children must be better off than small families and those without children, is to be implemented.
What are the plans?
In concrete terms, the plans would mean that families with three or more children would pay less than they do today. According to the draft, the contribution for three children would be 3.10 percent in the future - of which 1.40 percent would be borne by the insured and 1.70 percent by the employer. So far, employers and employees have each contributed 1.525 percent to the contributions for people with children.
In general, there would be a larger difference between the contributions with and without children on July 1 - due to the increase in the general contribution by 0.35 points and at the same time a planned increase in the supplement for childless persons by 0.25 points. According to an overview by the ministry, this meant that the contribution without children rose from 3.40 percent to 4.00 percent - of which 2.30 percent was on the employee side instead of the previous 1.875 percent.
It would also be more expensive for families with one child, for whom, according to the draft, the contribution should increase from 3.05 percent to 3.40 percent - the employee share would increase from 1.525 percent to 1.70 percent. With two children, the contribution would be 3.25 percent in the future - and the employee share would rise slightly to 1.55 percent.
Are there any reliefs?
In order to cushion the ever-increasing costs for those in need of care, the reform plans provide for several reliefs as of January 1, 2024. For those in need of care at home, the care allowance, which was last increased in 2017, is to increase by five percent. Surcharges introduced in 2022 are to be increased for those in need of care in the home. This is intended to reduce the personal contribution for pure care in the first year in the home by 15 instead of 5 percent, in the second by 30 instead of 25 percent, in the third by 50 instead of 45 percent and from the fourth year by 75 instead of the previous 70 percent. The background to this is that nursing care insurance - unlike health insurance - only bears part of the costs for pure nursing care. In addition, there are payments for accommodation and meals for residents of the home.
There was further criticism of the plans. 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 / Saturday). 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.