We are happy to meet Dr Schmidt’s request for a more precise differentiation by type of insurance. In Germany, 38.7% of people in private health insurance schemes are of the opinion that the country’s healthcare system works well and requires only small changes. At 22.5%, this proportion is notably lower among members of statutory health insurance schemes, it is similarly low in those with statutory insurance plans with add-on plans (for example, for inpatient care) (24.8%). Fundamental changes to the healthcare system are considered necessary by 41.8% (private insurance), 51.4% (statutory insurance), and 51.9 % (statutory insurance with add-on insurance), 19.5% (private insurance), 26.1% (statutory insurance) and 23.4% (statutory insurance with add-on plan) think there is so much wrong with the German healthcare system that it needs complete reorganization. 53.7% of privately insured patients rated the quality of care received in the preceding 12 months as excellent or very good. This is a notably higher proportion than among patients with statutory health insurance (31.2%) and patients with statutory insurance and add-on insurance (42.2%); 41%, 55.7% and 49.6%, respectively, rated their care as “good”. It is possible that shorter waiting times and earlier treatment dates played a part in the greater satisfaction expressed by privately insured patients. 76% of privately insured patients and 72% of those with statutory health insurance with add-on insurance were given appointments on the same day or the next day, compared with 56% of patients with just statutory health insurance. Very few (6.9%) privately insured patients had to wait longer than 4 weeks for an appointment to see a specialist, compared with 33.2% of members of statutory health insurance schemes and 25.5% of those with statutory health insurance and add-on schemes. Access to treatment for emergencies at weekends or on bank holidays, however, is independent of insurance status in Germany. Irrespective of which type of insurance cover they had, access to telephone consultations was rated as easy or very easy by two thirds of survey participants.
Prof. Dr. med. Peter T. Sawicki
Institut für Gesundheitsökonomie und Klinische Epidemiologie
Gleuler Straße 176–178
50935 Köln, Germany
Conflict of Interest Statement
The authors of both contributions declare that no conflict of interest exists according to the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.
|1.||Koch K, Schürmann C, Sawicki P: The German health care system in international comparison—a patient perspective. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2010; 107(24): 427–34.|