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According to one of the recent studies of Continentale Versicherung, insured patients spend around EUR 380 per year to doctors, clinics or pharmacies, or other out of pocket expenses. On average, women spend EUR 440, and men EUR 300 for services that health insurance does not cover. The Dortmund insurer had been the representative study for opinion research institute TNS Infratest.

Almost 1 in 3 stated that they had refrained from treatment, or moved to different providers, due to costs for treatments, examinations or immunisations. Costs besides practice fees include accompanying payments for medicines, medical treatments, physiotherapy and massage. In particular, low-income earners have abandoned medical services due to budgetary considerations.

In addition, 80% of respondents thought that the German health system is too expensive. For this question, the information came from 1,100 insured patients, as well as 167 privately insured patients, and 90% still see current health care as positive. Nearly 4 out of 5 (78%) of respondents did, however, express concern about the long term benefits of medical progress in the long term.

Commentary: The overall picture provided by the study can be interpreted as an extract from a cross-section of society. The majority of self-payments and services in the context of the medical industry are perceived as too high by most respondents. Looking at this point in detail, it can be assumed as a long term trend that changes will be made for the insured.

Similar to areas of care where medical treatment that are already characterised by co-payment (dental, vision aids), there will also be more and more co-payment required in general health care in the future. One can remain assured that the German health care system will continue to provide the necessary medical care and services, through reimbursement from statutory sickness funds.

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