The history of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds

The “Act to Enhance Competition in Statutory Health Insurance” (GKV-WSG) came into force on 1 April 2007. With this health reform, a new era began for statutory health insurance. Previously, necessarily uniform agreements and regulations for all health insurance funds were reached jointly or on a work-sharing basis by seven fund-specific associations. With the health reform, the legislature has now transferred this task to a single association which was to be newly established – the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds. This is the central association of the health insurance funds at federal level in accordance with section 217 a of Book V of the German Social Code (SGB V).

The new organisation was to help streamline the association structures of statutory health insurance, and hence help create greater transparency. Its establishment proceeded quickly – not lastly thanks to the work of its establishment commissioner Klaus Kirschner. Being actively supported by the previous central associations of the health and long-term care insurance funds, the Chair of the Health Committee in the German Federal Parliament of many years’ standing was able to ensure that the Members’ Assembly and the Administrative Council already convened in May 2007 to deliberate on the Statutes and budget. The three-person Board elected soon after by the Administrative Council, headed by Dr. Doris Pfeiffer, with Johann-Magnus von Stackelberg as Deputy Chairman and K.-Dieter Voß as the third member of the Board, pushed the establishment of political and organisational structures as well as the recruitment of personnel rapidly ahead, thereby ensuring that the tight schedule was kept to.

Around the end of 2007/beginning of 2008, the entire staff of the Association consisted of only eleven employees. In the following weeks and months, interviews were carried out on an almost daily basis, plans were worked out and the transfer of tasks from the old central associations to the new National Association was prepared. At the same time, completely new logistics had to be created for the Association – from pencils and office furniture, through to computers and this Internet presentation, everything had to be re-invented, procured and developed.

The preliminary work progressed well, so that on 1 July 2008 the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, with its staff of at that time roughly 120, was able to take up the activities assigned to it by law as scheduled and replace the previous central associations as negotiating partners regarding all decisions related to collective agreements at federal level. It was its declared aim to continue their excellent work.