More than 356,000 immigrants with lawsuits pending at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) were provisionally settled in 2020, under two orders published following the state of calamity due to covid-19.
According to the SEF Border and Asylum Immigration Report (RIFA), in 2019, 590,348 foreign citizens holding a residence permit lived in Portugal, the highest value recorded by this service since its creation in 1976.
In a clarification requested by the Lusa agency, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) stated that the first order, published on March 27, 2020, allowed around 260 thousand immigrants with lawsuits pending at SEF, between March 18 and October 15, to have their situation temporarily settled.
Since then, and after scheduling the SEF to complete the regularization process, most of them had their situation permanently settled, with pending cases still pending and for future resolution.
However, and still due to covid-19, the Government extended this process, through a dispatch published on November 8, 2020, which allowed the temporary settlement of 116,700 immigrants who had made their requests between 18 March and 15 October 2020.
Record number of foreigners
In all, 356,700 immigrants were temporarily regulated during this period, which allowed them, in particular, “access all public services, namely to obtain the utente number, access to the National Health Service or other rights of health care, access to social benefits support, celebration of lease agreements, celebration of employment contracts, opening of Bank accounts and contracting essential public services “.
The covid-19 pandemic, and the respective measures to prevent the transmission of infection, affected SEF services, such as “other Public Administration services and other public attendance services”, as the service itself acknowledges.
In July 2020, SEF made new online functionality available for Automatic Renewal of Residence Permits, having already carried out about 88,000 automatic renewals of residence permits, through an entirely digital process that dispenses with the physical movement of citizens to the service desk.
SEF performed about 201,000 face-to-face visits and issued 117,500 residency documents (129,155 in 2019). Of these, and for the exercise of professional activity, over 25,000 new residence permits (26,716 in 2019) and more than 21,000 calls are scheduled for SEF branches by June.
Complaints to the Ombudsman
However, an official source from the Ombudsman’s office informed the Lusa agency that the number of immigrant complaints have been on the rise, particularly since 2017: 191 in 2016, 231 in 2017, 467 in 2018, 428 in 2019 and more than 500 in 2020.
In relation to 2020, whose number is yet to be consolidated, the Ombudsman registered several complaints related to the application of the two orders published that year due to the covid-19 pandemic, which provisionally regularized immigrants with lawsuits pending at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), under the Foreigners Law in force.
Of various nationalities, which the Ombudsman does not reveal, immigrants resorted to this body in order to solve problems in the application of these orders in the health area, in terms of access and the number of users of the National Health Service (SNS) among others, or aiming at solving the difficulties in the exchange of driving licenses at the Institute of Mobility and Transport (IMT).
The same source as the Ombudsman said that many of the difficulties in the application of these orders, whenever the interested parties benefited from a state of provisional regularity, until the end of the process.
In 2018 and 2019, immigrants’ complaints were mainly aimed at applying the mechanisms for granting a residence permit, a residence permit for exercising subordinate professional activity and an exceptional residence regime.
Berlin Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has urgently appealed to employers to allow home offices wherever possible. “This is not just any appeal, but a very clear message from the federal and state governments to the economy,” said the SPD politician in an interview with the Handelsblatt.
Many companies acted responsibly. But there are also those who arbitrarily refused to work on the move. “That is irresponsible,” said Heil.
The request to work from home if possible is also directed at the employees – even if he understands that many would like to see their colleagues again. But it is a question of responsibility, and the employees are also deceived.
The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance (GKV) has called on the government coalition to tackle the serious financing problems in nursing care before the federal election. Without a reform, the contributions to long-term care insurance would have to increase by 2022 at the latest, said Gernot Kiefer, the GKV board member responsible for the long-term care insurance, to the Handelsblatt. A permanent tax subsidy of up to nine billion euros per year is necessary.
The federal states would also have to meet their responsibility and assume the investment costs in nursing homes. “So far, this has been dumped with the residents of the home, who have to contribute an average of 450 euros a month to renovation work, modernization work and maintenance,” criticized Kiefer with a view to the financial burdens on those in need of care, which has been increasing for years.
Read the full interview here:
Mr Kiefer, care should become a central topic of health policy in 2020. Then came Corona. How long can a reform wait? The topic can no longer be postponed. I understand that care reforms have pushed back in the pandemic, but care is running out of time. Major steps must be taken before the federal election.
Is there otherwise a threat of increasing contributions for employees and employers? Provided the economy recovers by the middle of the year and there are no unforeseen expenses, we will barely miss a premium increase in 2021. But by the beginning of 2022 at the latest, the current contribution rate is no longer sufficient.
What has to happen immediately? We need a significant and permanent tax subsidy for long-term care insurance. If the 40 percent limit on social security contributions is the political standard, we will not get around it. In addition, the federal states must finally invest sufficiently in the care infrastructure.
Both aspects are contained in a key issues paper by Health Minister Jens Spahn … … and that’s just as well. These points should definitely be clarified before the election. More far-reaching ideas for the care reform could then be implemented in the next legislative period.
So the rising financial burdens on residents of nursing homes are a case for the next federal government? For many people in need of care in inpatient facilities, their own contribution is hardly manageable. It is therefore clear: the own contributions to the care costs must not keep increasing. However, there would be short-term and noticeable relief if the countries met their investment commitments. So far, this has been dumped with the home residents, who have to contribute on a national average with 450 euros a month to renovation, modernization work and maintenance. And here every federal state can and should act independently quickly!
How high should the tax subsidy be? A minimum of three billion euros per year to cover the entire society. For example, it is a question of long-term care insurance paying the pension contributions for caring relatives. Another six billion euros a year would be needed if Minister Spahn’s reform proposals were to be implemented. Of this, three billion to cover the own shares alone.
Additional expenses are also to be expected from a comprehensive collective agreement in care for the elderly. Can long-term care insurance afford that? The idea of stronger collective bargaining coverage is the right way to adequately pay nursing staff across the board. In the struggle for scarce labor, care must become more attractive, otherwise we will not have enough skilled workers in an aging society. I’m happy about the 71,000 new nursing trainees, but that’s far from being enough for the needs of the next few years.
The pandemic in particular has shown the importance of nursing staff. Was it just applause from the balcony for you? The long-term care insurance provided a lot of money: 1.3 billion euros in premiums for caregivers. Another 1.2 billion euros went to outpatient care services and homes to finance additional expenses in the pandemic, such as hygiene measures. It is good and right that the federal government contributed to the financing of the pandemic costs with 1.8 billion euros in the form of a tax subsidy.
Thank you for talking to us, Mr. Kiefer.
More: Bundestag CSU calls for a € 5,000 premium for new nurses.
Berlin A higher retirement age is not an issue that can score points with voters. But at the start of this super election year with the Bundestag and numerous state elections, “we should all be honest about this issue,” demands the new employer president Rainer Dulger.
“If our life expectancy continues to rise, our working life must inevitably also increase,” said the Heidelberg family business owner of the German Press Agency. The pressure on the social security systems will increase when the baby boomer generation retires in the coming years.
As confirmation, the Federal Statistical Office announced on Monday that the 14-year growth in employment last year temporarily ended and the number of people in employment fell for the first time since 2006 – by 1.1 percent to 44.8 million.
Even without the corona crisis, the increase in employment would probably have come to an end soon, as the potential labor force is dwindling due to demographic change, the statisticians wrote.
BDA welfare state commission has made suggestions
The Welfare Commission of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) had already pointed out the problem in August last year and recommended that the standard age limit be linked to life expectancy.
If this increases by one year, employed persons should be able to work nine months longer and enjoy their pension for another three months. Those who retire before the standard age should, according to the ideas of the committee, have to accept discounts of up to six percent.
Former Gesamtmetall President Dulger is concerned that without drastic reforms in pensions and health, social security contributions cannot be kept below the 40 percent mark – and jobs are then at risk because of rising labor costs. He therefore calls – also in an interview with the Handelsblatt – to anchor the 40 percent target in the constitution.
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There are 23 defendants, including five Social Security officials, who are on trial in February 2021, in a corruption case, related to the allocation, in exchange for money, of the Social Security number to citizens mainly from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
January 5, 2021
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Munich The trend has been clear since September. Because of the corona crisis, the 102 providers of statutory health insurance (GKV), with which around 53 million Germans have health insurance, expect an additional financial requirement of 16.6 billion euros. The insured should raise around three billion euros through additional contributions.
The system in the statutory health insurance has been working like this since 2015: The general contribution rate for each statutory health insurance patient is 14.6 percent of their contributory income. If the money is not enough – which is the case with most providers – then the health insurers can determine an additional contribution depending on their expected financial needs. After the insured had to pay the additional contribution alone in the previous years, the split between employer and employee has been in effect again since 2019.
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) had estimated an increase in the average additional contribution of around 0.2 percentage points to 1.3 percent for the coming year. This is necessary to close the remaining funding gap of three billion euros.
How much such an increase affects the respective customers, however, is decided by each fund itself. The decisive factors are various factors, such as the number of expensive risk patients among the insured or the costs for the administrative apparatus. In 2020, the range between the cheapest (no additional contribution at all) and the most expensive health insurance (2.7 percent) was considerable. One thing is clear, however: In the coming year, no health insurance fund will be able to do without an additional contribution.
For the insured persons concerned, the contribution increase can amount to a three-digit sum per year. Specifically, the contribution depends on the respective income. Income up to the contribution assessment ceiling, which in future will be around 58,000 euros per year, is used.
So those who previously had to pay an average additional contribution of 1.1 percent came up to 638 euros, half of which was borne by the employer and the employee. At 1.3 percent, the result would be 754 euros a year, an increase of 116 euros and consequently 58 euros more for employers and employees.
A fund even lowers its contribution
In general, the spectrum that everyone with statutory health insurance can choose from extends from the general local health insurance funds (AOK) to guild health insurance funds (IKK), substitute health insurance funds, miners’ associations and open and company-related company health insurance funds (BKK).
A look at the individual providers shows that many health insurers will keep their additional premiums stable in 2021. Because of the 102 health insurance companies in the country that the portal “kankenkassen.net” evaluated this year, hold according to the current status 39 their additional contribution at the same level as last year. 19 increase him, one lowers even him. The remaining funds have not yet reported their plans.
Surprises can be found when looking into the details: This also puts the one case of a noticeable reduction in premium into perspective. The BKK Herkules from Kassel, which is open to members in Bavaria, Hesse and Lower Saxony, reduces its additional fee by 0.5 percent. However, this is still an above-average 1.7 percent.
With the required additional contribution of 2.2 percent in 2020, the BKK Herkules was one of the most expensive health insurance companies in the country. Only the BKK of the city of Augsburg was above this with an additional contribution of 2.7 percent. This fund has not yet gone public with its plans for 2021.
Of the 19 increases communicated so far, around 30 million people with health insurance in Germany are affected. “At the top, this means additional costs for consumers of up to 174 euros a year,” the experts from the comparison portal Check24 have calculated. That is 0.6 percent of 58,000 euros, split half between employer and employee.
In particular, the health insurance companies with a large number of members will demand significantly more in the coming year: The Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), the largest health insurance company, has already announced an increase in the additional contribution from 0.7 percent to 1.2 percent and justifies this with the fact that its previously below average contribution does not cover costs was. The Barmer Ersatzkasse, number two in the country, has not yet commented. She currently requires an additional contribution of 1.1 percent.
Similar to the TK, some of the eleven general local health insurance funds (AOK) also argue. Eight of them have already made their plans public. At six it becomes more expensive for the members. AOK Nordost and AOK Plus Sachsen / Thuringia as well as AOK Sachsen-Anhalt make the biggest leap with 0.6 percentage points each. However, this year it had not asked for any additional contribution. AOK Nordost is at the top of the list of local health insurance funds with 1.5 percent.
A change does not always make sense
For the insured, however, high contributions do not necessarily mean that they should urgently switch to a cheaper fund. After all, in addition to the competition for the amount of the additional contribution, a struggle for additional services has broken out.
This includes, for example, the assumption of the costs for alternative practitioners as well as discounts if a member behaves particularly healthy. Bonus programs and, in some cases, a financial reimbursement, which flows directly into the account of the insured, beckon here. Some providers take on preventive examinations that are not part of the standard repertoire. The decision for a cash register therefore depends on price and performance, advise experts – and of course on the individual illnesses and wishes.
For many insured persons, however, the price remains decisive when choosing the health insurance fund. In the current ranking, the HKK Erste Gesundheit stands out. The nationwide fund with its more than 700,000 members will only require an additional contribution of 0.39 percent in the coming year. BKK Würth is even cheaper, with a contribution of just 0.2 percent. However, this is only open to employees of the screw dealer from Künzelsau in Swabia. Other company-related BKKs also attract attention with their favorable conditions. At the machine manufacturer Krones, for example, it is only 0.7 percent.
In addition to the currently 26 company-related company health insurance funds, there are 52 open health insurance funds. Anyone who does not work for this company can also be a member there. In the coming year, the BKK Pfaff with 0.4 percent, the BKK Firmus with 0.44 percent or the BKK Faber-Castell with 0.65 percent will offer particularly favorable additional contributions.
Often, however, these are small and regionally active cash registers that are only open to members in one federal state. In order to join BKK Pfaff, an interested party must, for example, have their place of residence or place of employment in Rhineland-Palatinate. The BKK Faber-Castell is only active in Bavaria. On the other hand, the BKK Firmus from Bremen is open nationwide, which emerged from the merger of several small BKKs and today has 135,000 members.
Customers are relatively flexible
If you are considering changing your health insurance fund, you must consider the following: Members of a health insurance company can change to the end of the month with a period of two calendar months. The only requirement is that the member is insured for at least 18 months with the previous health insurance company before switching. “This is also a helpful relief for companies during the corona crisis,” adds Christine Prauschke, managing director for statutory health insurance at Check24. Ultimately, both sides share the additional contribution.
If the previous health insurance company increases the additional contribution, there is even a special right of termination. In this case, members can also switch if they have been insured with the old health insurance company for less than 18 months.
All of these regulations also apply to retirees. The only difference: Half of the contribution that was previously paid by the employer now comes from the pension fund.
In the medium term, the high competitive pressure among the health insurers could mean that it will not necessarily become more expensive for many people with statutory health insurance. Experts expect that anyone who can afford it will probably avoid this step. Because the GKV providers in Germany are financially not bad, despite the current loss of billions. In September, the cash reserves amounted to 20.6 billion euros – and thus showed about four times the statutory minimum reserve.
Nevertheless, the number of cash registers will also shrink in the coming year, which is currently just over a hundred. Actimonda BKK then merges with BIG direct healthy, Atlas BKK with Schwenninger BKK. They then appear on the market under the name Vivida BKK. In recent years, a number of mostly smaller companies have already disappeared and merged.
More: For many insured persons, health insurance will be significantly more expensive in 2021
Frankfurt How best to protect single people for old age? How about families, self-employed or globetrotters? The financial advisor Swiss Life and the Insurtech Wefox have calculated retirement plans for four case studies exclusively for the Handelsblatt.
Single: Inexpensive to provide for old age
The case: Jennifer P. is 28 years old and works as an educator in the public sector. She has been in her job for six years and earns 2800 euros gross per month. Your employer is a small district town. She is single and unbound, but has a permanent desire to have family and children. Your salary does not allow big leaps financially. But it would be possible for her to save up to 150 euros per month.
Offer I: According to Swiss Life, it is recommended that Ms. P. insure her daily sickness allowance (from five euros per month) to close the first pension gap in the event of a longer illness. Supplementary health insurance is ideal here.
Occupational disability insurance as an independent (from 50 euros per month) or linked contract is used to ensure long-term liquidity in working life. The level of protection should generally be set at 80 percent of the regular net income. The selected occupational disability pension should be around 1400 euros for Ms. P. up to the age of 67.
In the case of old-age provision, Ms. P. is compulsorily insured as an educator in the public service in a supplementary pension fund. For additional retirement provision, one can recommend a unit-linked Riester pension to Ms. P., also due to the prospective family planning. The monthly contribution would amount to 97.42 euros.
Offer II: From the perspective of the start-up Wefox, company pension schemes should always be the first choice for employees when it comes to old-age provision, because the net burden is very low here.
Frankfurt For decades, Germans have saved up with life insurance policies for retirement age. But anyone who is now thinking about making provisions for old age thinks less and less about this financial product. When interest rates are low, many people look for other options. But what exactly are the alternatives?
It should be noted that life insurance usually offers two components: asset accumulation and risk protection. First of all, says Annabel Oelmann, Member of the Board of the Bremen Consumer Center, consumers should protect themselves against risks that threaten their existence – and separate saving and insurance.
That means: Separately concluded occupational disability and term life insurance, which in the past were often sold in combination with life insurance, remain important.
When building up assets, the first step is to take stock: On the one hand, it is about how much money the consumer will likely have at retirement age – for example from statutory pension insurance or a professional pension fund, company pension scheme or a Riester pension. On the other hand, there is the question of whether this amount will be enough to secure the desired standard of living.
A private supplementary pension is often necessary. Dennis Buchmann, investment advisor at Quirin Privatbank says: “It is important for old-age provision products that they are flexible, transparent and inexpensive. Life insurance doesn’t offer any of that. ”There is also no magic bullet. However, financial experts recommend a mixture of the following products:
1. Fund savings plan as yield turbo
If you want to achieve a certain return, you cannot avoid the stock market. The best way to invest money regularly is with a savings plan. Instead of relying on individual stocks, exchange-traded index funds (ETFs) are particularly suitable for retirement provision.
Berlin Those insured by Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) are getting bad news in the mail these days. From January 1, 2021, the additional contribution to Germany’s largest statutory health insurance will increase by 0.5 percentage points. “Our additional contribution rate, which was significantly below average in comparison, did not cover costs,” said the fund.
So far, TK has levied an additional contribution of 0.7 percent in addition to the general health insurance rate of 14.6 percent of gross wages. In the future it will be 1.2 percent. How much that means in euros and cents for the insured depends on their income.
Income up to the contribution assessment ceiling, which will be around 58,000 euros per year from 2021, is used. In the case of TK, the increase in the additional contribution means a maximum annual additional charge of around EUR 290, half of which is borne by the employer and the employee.
The statutory health insurance (GKV) is facing financially difficult times – a development that not only affects the more than ten million TK insured persons. Other health insurance companies are also increasing their additional contributions, sometimes significantly. This is less due to the corona pandemic than to the expensive laws that Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has made in recent years – such as the financial incentives for doctors to make appointments to statutory health insurance patients faster.
“In order to stabilize its budget and cope with the high costs of the legislation, the AOK Baden-Württemberg has to increase its additional contribution for the first time in five years,” said the largest health insurance company in southwest Germany. For the more than 4.5 million insured persons, the additional contribution increases by 0.2 points to 1.1 percent.
Increase cushioned by the federal government
Other examples: The IKK classic, which has more than three million insured throughout Germany, announced an increase of 0.3 points to 1.3 percent. The AOK Lower Saxony goes up by 0.5 points from 0.8 to 1.3 percent. AOK Plus, which is active in Saxony and Thuringia, doubles its additional contribution from 0.6 to 1.2 percent.
Not all health insurances have yet communicated their contribution decisions. Among them is the Barmer, with around nine million insured parties after TK, number two in the industry. Some health insurers do without an increase – for example the DAK. The third-largest nationwide health insurance company levies an additional contribution of 1.5 percent, which is above average.
If the federal government had not intervened, the contributions would have increased even more. When internal calculations in September predicted a financial gap of 16 billion euros in the statutory health insurance system, Spahn and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) drew up a short-term plan for 2021. This was intended to keep the political promise not to allow total social security contributions to rise above 40 percent.
Scholz provided an additional tax subsidy of five billion euros for the health fund. Spahn obliged the health insurers to jump in with a total of eight billion euros from their reserves.
The hope: this maneuver could limit the increase in the average additional contribution from 1.1 to 1.3 percent. The average additional contribution is a statistical calculation variable with which financial appraisers operate in the statutory health insurance. How high the actual additional contribution will ultimately be for the insured is determined by each health insurance company for itself depending on its financial situation.
Contributions could increase beyond 2021
The reality of contributions is likely to become increasingly uncomfortable in the next few years. Tapping into the cash reserves brings only one-time relief for 2021, at some point the reserves from the economic boom of the past decade will be used up.
After the federal elections in autumn, the new government will have to make a difficult decision at the latest: Either it will pump billions in taxes into the statutory health insurance system, try to reduce costs in the health system with savings programs – or it will say goodbye to the 40 percent guarantee for social security contributions .
TK boss Jens Baas recently warned that 2022 would be “a tough year for funds and members”. “If the state does not counteract this, there is a risk of the additional contribution doubling.” Frank Hippler, CEO of IKK classic, also said: “We expect a massive upward movement in contribution rates in the industry.”
In the current year, the 105 cash registers recorded a deficit totaling 1.7 billion euros by the end of the third quarter. Spahn tried to present the numbers presented at the beginning of December as a corona result. “The pandemic is leaving its mark on the income and expenditure of statutory health insurance companies,” he said.
In the health insurance camp, it is not the virus, but Spahn that is seen as the main cause of the impending financial misery. Paradoxically, the pandemic initially even relieved the coffers, as in the spring clinics postponed operations that could be planned and patients kept doctor visits to a minimum. Pharmaceutical expenditure also fell as a result.
At the end of the first half of the year, the health insurance companies showed a surplus of around 1.3 billion euros – it was only a snapshot. Even if Germany is still in the grip of Corona, health care has returned to normal.
The expensive laws that Spahn enacted before the pandemic are increasingly developing their dynamism. There is talk in health ministerial circles that the activities of the Minister of Health mean additional expenditure of over 30 billion euros over the period 2019 to 2022.
More: In private health insurance too, premiums will rise significantly in 2021. With a reform, premium increases for insured persons could be mitigated.
When inaugurating the medical unit -which is number 1,525 in the whole country-, the General Director of the IMSS, Zoé Robledo, thanked the support of the Government of Sonora. Photo: @zoerobledo
With the inauguration of the Family Medicine Unit (UMF) No. 19 of Agua Prieta, Sonora, the Mexican Institute of Social Security, will provide medical services to 19 thousand 200 beneficiaries, out of a potential population of 96 thousand 663 inhabitants, with which the first level of care continues to be strengthened.
When inaugurating the medical unit -which is number 1,525 in the whole country-, the General Director of the IMSS, Zoé Robledo, thanked the support of the Government of Sonora, because for 44 years a Social Security work had not been carried out, In Agua Prieta, and now, it has the capacity to deal with other pandemics such as obesity, overweight, diabetes, chronic degenerative diseases that left the population vulnerable to covid-19.
“Because the covid will pass, we will overcome it, and the obesity pandemic, and the pandemic of overweight, diabetes, chronic degenerative diseases, will continue there and that is not fought in intensive care units or with ventilators.
“It is fought in clinics, with good follow-up, with a good consultation, establishing relationships of trust between the family doctor and the beneficiary who is assigned to the office.
“Whenever I think of the number of people we serve, I think of the number of people who are assigned, not to a unit, to a clinic directly, because that is the indicator that we must improve, that each person has a follow-up, that we promote more the consultation of the healthy patient, the follow-up of pregnant women.
“And then we will have elements to end that other pandemic that this year made us much more vulnerable to the Sars-Cov-2 virus,” he said.
On the other hand, the general secretary of the National Union of Social Security Workers (SNTSS) Arturo Olivares Cerda, stressed that this Family Medicine Unit is a new bastion to extend benefits to the population.
“Unfortunately the pandemic crossed us, but I am convinced, and this work is an example of it, despite the adversities, we will build a better health system for Mexicans,” he said.
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