The emotional US debate about the 2010 health care reform is not well understood in Europe. The reason is that mandatory and government controlled health care is pretty common in the ‘old continent’. E.g. in Germany there has been a system of public and private health insurances for decades now. Insurance in either of these systems is mandatory for everybody. However, both systems work very differently in terms of costs and coverage. Switching between them is also difficult and sometimes not possible, once you made your decision. That’s why comparing health care plans is both, complicated and important.

A new start-up project in Germany now helps people to compare the total costs of a PKV (private health insurance) and the gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (the public health care system). It does so by predicting the long term costs of every plan, assuming a certain set of medical treatments the user will need throughout his or her life. The prediction is also based on individual data the user provides (e.g. age, income, number of children) and scientific research about future cost developments in the health care sector.

The website has just launched. It’s free (but in German) and can be found at: http://www.krankenversicherung-prognose.de/

Maybe the need for elaborated comparison of health insurances will also increase in the US after the recent reform and a new niche market will emerge.