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Expected health expenditure in Germany in 2019 had gone up by 4.3 percent to 407.4 billion euros (442 billion U.S. dollars) compared to the previous year, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced on Tuesday.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, health spending in Germany had continually risen, Destatis noted. In 2018, health expenditure in the country amounted to 390.6 billion euros, accounting for 11.7 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

With 56.9 percent, Germany’s statutory health insurers accounted for the largest share of cost in 2018, followed by private households and private non-profit organizations, according to Destatis.

On Monday, German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported that statutory health insurance companies in Germany were heading for a deficit of more than 14 billion euros in 2020, fueled by the coronavirus crisis.

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV) announced on Tuesday that the pandemic represented an “unprecedented challenge for the German healthcare system.”

Covering 73 million citizens, the umbrella association of all 105 statutory health and nursing insurance companies warned that German insurers were facing a twofold problem.

“Due to the additional coronavirus expenses on the one hand and the increasing economic problems with declining premium income on the other hand, the question of the financial stability of the statutory health insurance is now also coming into focus,” said Doris Pfeiffer, GKV chair of the board. Enditem

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