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Techniker Krankenkasse: benefits, service and more - for a healthy life

With more than seven million insurants Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) is one of the major health insurers in Germany. It has a long tradition of 125 years and sees itself as a modern health care service provider with closely connected strong benefits, qualified consulting and comfortable services. TK offers more than 10.000 single benefits – from health protection up to rehabilitation, from most modern medicine up to traditional complementary medicine. TK offers comprehensive benefits as well as decision supports and orientation for its clients. The company was repeatedly awarded for its benefits and its quality of service. For example, at the end of 2009 it was proclaimed for the fourth time as "Germanys best health insurance fund" from the renowned business magazine "Focus Money".

All over Germany, TK offers its service and benefits with more than 11.000 employees and in 215 contact points. Furthermore, it has almost 11.000 voluntary consultants in companies and universities who help in all kinds of health care issues.

Benefits in other EU-Member States
TK has ever been a Europe-friendly health insurer. In 1998 it was almost the only one who welcomed the decision of the European Court of Justice concerning Kohll and Decker whereas others still feared a tremendous exodus of patients. With a modification of the TK-statute it enabled its clients to purchase medical services in other EU-member-states long before the entitlement through the so called KohllDecker-decision was implemented into German law.

Since 2004, TK has had contracts with clinics for its clients to ensure high-quality and unbureaucratic health care in border regions in other EU member states, during vacations and for scheduled medical treatment. Today, this service is provided in cooperation with AOK-Rheinland/Hamburg and covers 70 clinics in the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy. Other locations are projected.
Since 2005, TK has also had contracts with 26 spas in other EU member states, specifically Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

AOK – The health fund – A strong association

With 24 million insured, the AOK association is the biggest provider of statutory health insurance in Germany. With a market share of 34 percent, more than a third of the population benefit from AOK insurance cover. As modern service companies, 15 AOKs offer a comprehensive range of services regionally.

As one of the biggest health insurance providers, AOK Rheinland/Hamburg looks after over 2.9 million insured. Through its contract partners - including about 27,500 doctors and dentists, over 3,100 pharmacies and about 250 hospitals - AOK Rheinland/Hamburg ensures optimum medical care with all modern, scientifically recognised treatments and methods of healing.
As a strong Solidargemeinschaft (“solidarity association”), AOK Rheinland/Hamburg is close to its insured – with over 100 branches where the staff give comprehensive and skilled advice – even on Saturdays. Advisers in firms, schools and universities support this service. In addition, the insured is offered special services and advice together with cooperation partners Christelijke Mutualiteit in Belgium and the Dutch CZ Actief in Gezondheid in joint branches in the border areas. The Clarimedis AOK service centre provides expert advice, support and guidance for the insured in all matters of insurance cover and health with its own healthcare professionals. One point of emphasis is the EuropaService. Certification of the range of services and quality by TÜV Rheinland is a feature.
AOK European health service
AOK Rheinland/Hamburg is a pioneer in Europe-wide healthcare in the forefront of European development. Since 1994 it has initiated numerous projects in the border regions – the test laboratories for further development in Europe. The legal decisions of the European Court support its activities. The best practice projects are:

Europe in the border regions

“Patientenversorgung ohne Grenzen” (Patient Care without Borders) (1997): The first contract extending beyond borders, by a German health insurer, AOK Rheinland/Hamburg and the Dutch university clinic AZN St Radboud in Nijmegen. Medical care of gravely ill patients in nearby St Radboud, the Netherlands. Eleven years later, certification as the first European breast centre with reference centres in Kleve (D) and in Nijmegen (NL).
“Zorg op Maat” (IZOM, Tailored Care) and GesundheitsCard international (2000) (health card): Free access to outpatient and inpatient medical services and the provision of medicines in the border areas of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Simplification of procedures for citizens and service providers and special customer services are widely acknowledged. Up to 10,000 citizens a year use the uncomplicated healthcare in neighbouring countries. Not a big number but of benefit to all involved.
EuregioGesundheitsPortal (2005): Information e.g. about health services and projects across the borders of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
These projects received awards in 2003 and 2005.

Europe-wide healthcare
In 2002 there followed the first contracts with clinics on the North Sea coast of Belgium and the Netherlands and in Austria to guarantee good medical care, simple procedures and expert service to the insured in additional EU member states. Good medical care, supported by technical procedures for the online verification of insurance status, approval and electronic charging as well as special services offer benefits to the insured and the service provider. Since 2004, AOK Rheinland/Hamburg has provided these services in 70 European clinics in collaboration with the technical health fund. At the start of 2009, the AOKs of Berlin, Brandenburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Westphalia-Lippe joined this EuropaService.
The “TEN4Health” EU project supported collaboration with partners in Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy, in particular in the regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Here tourists are offered good medical care and excellent service. Further innovative developments in the IT sector and information policy are occurring beyond the scope of the project.
The “TEN4Health” project with its improved procedures and range of services was assessed as exceedingly positive by the EU Commission in May 2009. The framework contract with the healthcare businesses in the Veneto region was seen, among other things, as a useful model for European healthcare and patient mobility.
Our drive towards development in other EU member states (e.g. in Poland, Spain and Turkey).