The German health care system is a high-performing one, where recent policy reforms have attempted to contain costs and strengthen competition. With recent policy proposing the formation of a national commissioning board for England, the Nuffield Trust and colleagues were interested to learn from Germany how a statutory not-for-profit national insurer was managing to achieve better value health care in an economically challenging environment. What followed was a study visit to Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) – one of Germany’s largest statutory health insurance companies, based in Hamburg.
TK has grown as an institution over several decades and can be thought of as one of the foremost funds of the technical guilds. What stands out about TK is the excellent customer service, excellent data mining and the use of transaction data – capabilities that are hallmarks of a high-level payer with honed processes and strong leadership.
This paper highlights many of the issues discovered that reflect practice not just at TK, but within the wider German health care system, and sets out potential learning for the NHS in England.
This paper will be of interest to policy-makers, senior practitioners, academics and students of European and UK health policy.
Nuffield Trust (2010) The Techniker Krankenkasse experience: lessons for commissioners from a successful German statutory health insurer. Briefing. Nuffield Trust.