Government criticism of health insurers is going badly. Threatened with having to once again put their hands in their pockets after having to resign themselves to an exceptional tax of 1 billion euros in 2020, and 500 million in 2021, in the name of the health crisis, the players in complementary health forward a catching up of their expenses and additional costs linked to the crisis.
Monday, the Ministers of Health and Public Accounts, Olivier Véran and Olivier Dussopt, had reproached them in “Les Echos” for not having lowered their contributions this year as “They had made the commitment.”“It has always been clear that the 500 million withdrawals from the additional provisions planned for 2021 did not necessarily constitute the final amount and should be updated”, declared Olivier Dussopt. The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, for his part proposed to “ convene ” players ” to find a solution “.
“It is wrong to claim that insurers committed last year not to increase their contracts”, reacts Franck Le Vallois, Managing Director of the French Insurance Federation (FFA). Arguing the risk of an agreement, the FFA is reluctant to make collective commitments on the tariffs which are the responsibility of its members. Even if in another register, the government obtained at the end of last year a freeze on professional insurance rates for SMEs in sectors severely affected by the crisis.
No commitment on a gel
These interventions come after the association for the defense of consumers, UFC-Que Choisir denounced in January an increase in contributions of 4.3% in 2021. La Mutualité Française, representing mutual health insurance, estimated the increase. average at 2.6%. “As every year, the evolution of contributions […] keeps pace with health spending ”, she argues in reaction to the ministers’ comments.
Insurers do not deny that there was a drop in health spending last year, the health crisis having pushed policyholders to desert opticians, doctors’ offices … But they denounce false trials. “ Complementary health workers have been prevented from doing their job as soon as the compulsory scheme has preempted all healthcare expenses linked to Covid-19, such as teleconsultation ”, annoys Franck Le Vallois.
Above all, insurers explain that health spending was undoubtedly only shifted in time given the confinements. “It was not wrong when we said there would be catch-up effects. There has been a surge in spending, particularly in optics and dentistry since October 2020 ”, underlines Pierre Guillocheau, director of group insurance at Crédit Agricole Assurances. He adds that the crisis has left marks on players who also distribute insurance contracts covering in the event of sick leave, “There was an increase in work stoppages last year”.
“A new indirect tax”
“If there were to be a revision of the tax, there would have to be a specific treatment for collective contracts”, argues Marie-Laure Dreyfuss, general delegate of CTIP, the organization representing provident institutions. Because, these insurers serving companies with collective contracts say they are much more affected by the crisis than the actors directly addressing individuals. They say they have had to deal with an increase in defaults of companies, partial unemployment as well as the additional costs related to the portability of rights for the unemployed.
“The under-consumption in health has been more than compensated by other phenomena”, insists the director of Malakoff Humanis, Thomas Saunier. His group thus announced a pre-tax profit in the red at -146 million euros knowing that the Covid tax cost 116 million euros. “This taxation is taken from the contributions of our insured, he insists. It should not become recurrent, at the risk of becoming a new indirect tax. “