Hiking or cycling tours “on prescription” – is it possible? In fact, some health insurance companies participate in such vacations as part of health promotion – under certain conditions.
You may have already come across advertisements for hiking or similar vacations on the Internet, which state, among other things, that health insurance companies will contribute to the costs. But is this true? FITBOOK wanted to know the exact cash registers, look up and ask. What exactly do health insurance companies cover: full health holidays or individual courses at the travel destination? What requirements must be met? We provide an overview of the top ten statutory health insurance offerings (by number of members).1
What health insurance companies did we check?
During our research, we focused on the top ten statutory health insurance companies – as measured by the number of their members:
- Health insurance for technicians
- AOK (as a community, all the independent regional AOK together)
- hkk health insurance
- mobile health insurance
- IKK Classic
What counts as a health leave?
First of all: health leave is not the same as every sports vacation. As Techniker Krankenkasse explains when asked by FITBOOK, “Healthy flight is a precautionary offer that is not offered on the property and with an overnight stay.” Prevention offerings, in turn, mean well-recognized health courses in the areas of exercise and nutrition, among others. Some health insurance companies such as b. DAK, Health and Prevention trips are also referred to as “Away from Home Combined Courses”.
Not every sports course is a health course recognized by health insurance companies, and therefore not every sports vacation can be equated with a health trip. permission from z. For example, if you are planning a trip to Portugal to learn how to surf there, you will likely not get any financial support from your health insurance company. On the other hand, if you are planning a trip that includes stress management in the form of a yoga class and possibly participate in a nutritional counseling provided at the travel destination, there is a good chance that you will get support from a health insurance company.
In addition, subsidized health flights are mainly limited to travel destinations in Germany. This is because health courses must be accredited by the Central Prevention Testing Center (ZPP).
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What counts as a healthy cycle?
As mentioned earlier, only courses that have a corresponding certificate from ZPP are considered health courses. The Central Prevention Testing Center has been a joint facility between health insurance companies in Germany since January 1, 2014. The stated objective is to check prevention courses according to Article 20 Para 4 No. 1 SGB V according to uniform standards. Course providers can submit their courses in the health field there for examination in order to obtain a health course certificate that is officially recognized by health insurance companies.
What types of health courses are there?
Health courses are available in four areas:
- a movement
- Stress management/relaxation
- Addictive Substances (Prevention/Withdrawal)
What are the different health insurance offers?
Health insurance members can take health leave or combined training courses as well as individual health courses in different ways. All the same health insurance companies offer interview courses and some also offer so-called travel packages.
You can also choose preventive courses and trips from third-party providers and apply for cost-sharing from your health insurance company.
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Travel packages and courses from the same health insurance companies
Some health insurance companies already have ready-made travel packages on offer for their members. To do this, they work closely with a tour operator and/or hotel. For example, SBK offers Balance Days and Wellness Trips in collaboration with Dr. day off. The mobile health insurance company cooperates with “Akon”, an online provider of preventive travel (active vacations and wellness) and offers active weeks there, among other things.
All of the top 10 statutory health insurance companies we examined offer a selection of health courses. Some of them happen close to home and/or online. Members can learn more on their insurance companies’ websites and register for courses.
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Participation in the costs of vacations and courses offered by external service providers
If the health insurance company you belong to does not have a suitable offer to choose from, you can also look for other providers. This applies to both individual courses (near where you live and/or online) and courses far from where you live, which are then considered preventive or health trips. These include (at least in the case of the DAK, as confirmed upon request) eg b. Trips too, as they can be found online under headings like “hiking with prescription,” “prescription cycling” and the like.
However, it is important to know that in most cases insurance companies do not cover the costs of the entire trip. They give a stipend for courses that take place during the flight – that is, for courses called distance courses. You have to bear the costs of overnight accommodation by yourself. In addition, most insurance companies only support two health courses (at home or in the form of a preventive trip) and only with a certain price limit. Therefore, before booking, it is advisable to clarify whether and what those costs will be covered by the health insurance company.
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What requirements must be met?
The prerequisite, of course, is to be a member of the health insurance company whose offer you wish to take advantage of or from whom you wish to receive support. This applies to offers that can show the already declared certification of the ZPP. This applies to online courses as well as to courses you take for example. b- A weekly visit in the vicinity of the place of residence. Also for ‘combined courses away from home’, in which one spends the weekend elsewhere, and for health courses one would like to take part in while on vacation.
When asked by FITBOOK, the majority of health insurers also cited the participation rate as a prerequisite for cost-sharing. In most cases, attendance is 80 percent for face-to-face courses and 100 percent for online courses. This applies to courses at home as well as those as part of health holidays. Does a health course include yoga for example? For example, five single appointments, then four appointments must be attended in the case of face-to-face courses, and all five appointments in the case of online courses. To reimburse or support costs, health insurance companies usually require a Certificate of Participation.
What, on the other hand, is not specified as a requirement by any insurance company: a doctor’s prescription. So, shows like b. “Walk on prescription” is somewhat misleading.
Bottom line: So is there a “prescription hiking vacation”?
A prescription hiking leave isn’t quite right. On the other hand, a holiday dedicated to health and fitness with financial support from a health insurance company, is realistic. Provided that the health insurance member fulfills the above-mentioned conditions and that the course or courses are approved as a health leave. Rarely is an entire trip including travel and accommodations fully funded. But submitting an application (in the case of external offers) for a grant may be beneficial. So the upcoming holiday will not only be active and healthy, but also much cheaper.