The Private Health Insurance: Demarketization of a Welfare Market?
GPS, Vol. 5 No. 1, (2009)
This article examines to what extent the German private health insurance (PHI) is under-going a process of “demarketization”. Whereas newly established welfare markets (e.g. in the field of pension, long-term care, health care, labor market etc.) can be regarded as a result of “marketization”, the substitutive PHI looks back on a centennial tradition as the market-based counterpart of the statutory health insurance (SHI). Even though the PHI generally assures a high level of insurance protection, the market-based organization of this insurance led to an increase in socio-political regulations in the past two decades. These social liabilities did not transform the PHI business model radically. Nevertheless, an incremental transformation as well as a partial convergence is taking place between SHI and PHI. These developments will be analyzed in this article.