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Patients in the waiting room © Maurizio Gambarini

The healthcare system – great. The solidarity system – great. According to a survey, Germans give structures high marks – especially if they themselves are healthy. The picture changes in the case of one’s own illness.

Germans are satisfied with the healthcare system in general, the solidarity principle of the statutory health insurance funds, GP care and the fairness of the system. This is the result of the representative "Opinion Pulse Health", which was presented by the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) in Berlin on Wednesday.

Young and healthy people are particularly satisfied. Approval ratings worsen when one’s health is struggling and looking to the future.

More satisfied than ever

Forsa commissioned TK to conduct a representative survey of 2,000 people in January and February for "Meinungspuls".001 adults surveyed. This is the eleventh time that the health insurance fund has had the survey carried out. But Germans have never been as satisfied as they are at present in any previous survey, explained CEO Jens Baas.

According to the report, 55 percent are satisfied with the health care system, while another 29 percent are very or completely satisfied. Especially among the younger generation, the 18- to 25-year-olds, the very positive attitude is pronounced: 43 percent are here very or completely satisfied.

Satisfaction increases with salary

Significant differences emerge, however, when respondents are analyzed in more detail. Thus the satisfaction with rising salary turns out larger. Among low-income earners, with less than 1.500 euros net per month, the high level of satisfaction is 19 percent. More than 3 percent of the population come to the health care system each month.000 euros in the budget together, the large approval is 28 percent, and from 4.000 euros net, the figure is 37 percent.

The survey also shows a clear connection between one’s own state of health and satisfaction with the care system. One-third of those in good health also give the system high marks. Of those who struggle with their health, it’s a quarter.

The same applies to the question of the fairness of the health care system. Again, approval is higher among fit respondents. The opinion that the health care system is unfair is more prevalent among those who are sick or ill. On average, however, the majority is convinced that the system is fair.

Praise for solidarity principle

83 percent also think the solidarity principle in statutory health insurance is good. "The younger generation in particular is behind this principle," said Baas. For example, approval of the solidarity system is particularly high among 18- to 39-year-olds, at 88 percent. At the same time, three quarters believe that everyone should have the option of choosing between statutory and private insurance.

According to the survey, just under 90 percent currently have statutory health insurance, while the rest have private health insurance. Against this backdrop, a good half believe that the German healthcare system is fit for the future. Digital technologies and networking will bring progress, according to 80 percent of respondents.

When it comes to communication in particular, younger people are betting on further developments – such as making appointments online. At the same time, the majority attaches great importance to data protection.

Waiting for deadline sucks

Despite the belief in future viability, the expectation of performance in relation to contribution is rather meager. 91 percent of those surveyed believe that contributions to the health insurance funds will increase, but do not expect any improvement in the scope of benefits. More than half even expect the range of services offered by the statutory health insurance system to become narrower in the future. Fifty-eight percent would accept higher premiums and co-payments to maintain current benefit levels.

When asked about medical care, satisfaction prevails again. 85 percent are satisfied with outpatient care at their local doctor’s office. If the specialist comes into play, the majority is annoyed by the wait for an appointment. When it comes to hospitals, respondents are primarily interested in the quality and experience of the doctors.

Asked about the future, pessimism also emerges here: 43 percent expect a decline in quality of care.

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