The German health sector faces a number of challenges, which began before the pandemic and have been brought into focus, although not fundamentally altered, by the crisis. The study, "the Role of Private Health Insurance in the Healthcare System of the Future" (1) shines a light on the political, socio-demographic, economic, and technological factors that will shape the German healthcare industry in the coming years. The relationship between clients (patients), providers (hospitals, doctors, pharmacies), and cost bearers (health insurance groups) continues to form the core of the healthcare system. However, the balance in the relationship between these three groups will change. Clients are increasingly gaining power in their interactions with the other two stakeholders and placing higher demands on them. The cost bearers must therefore take on a more active role, moving "from payer to player" in delivering healthcare and in the health activities of their members. At the same time, they must manage the effects of an aging society and the financial consequences of the coronavirus crisis on the contributions and benefits that form the basis of their services.
Innovation improves services
In the future scenarios proposed in the study, medical and technological innovations significantly improve qualitative and quantitative services for clients. The coronavirus crisis is a catalyst for a surge in development. Increased digitalization and stronger connections between the different stakeholders (clients, providers, cost bearers) allows better care and greater transparency. However, it will also further increase the complexity of the healthcare system in the coming years as the points of interactions between the stakeholders increase. The scenario also affects private health insurance groups. They are faced with the burdens of the pandemic, low-interest-rate policies, an increasingly unfavorable age pyramid, as well as the growing number of providers and their increasing interconnection. The results of the study show that, currently, clients largely trust the PHI system. Their satisfaction actually increased during the coronavirus crisis.