On the one hand, TK is a modern, customer-oriented service provider. On the other, it is a "a self-governing body incorporated under public law". What at first glance appears to be contradictory actually goes together perfectly. Utilising the option of self-governance, the members – i.e. the customers – form their own "corporate supervision". They elect the highest governing body of TK, the Supervisory Board, from among their ranks.

The work of the Supervisory Board is based on three pillars with the following objectives:

  • to position and align TK financially in a way which ensures that its insurees receive the best possible benefits now and in the future;
  • to facilitate innovative benefits and services and support medical advances;
  • to take a position on health policy for the community of insurees.

What does that specifically mean?

The members of the Supervisory Board elect the full-time Managing Board, define the principles of the corporate policy and make all decisions that are of fundamental importance for TK.

Sound financial planning

As the body that governs the operating activities of the health insurance fund, the Supervisory Board is responsible for adopting the budget drawn up by the Managing Board. In addition, the self-governing bodies approve the annual accounts and discharge the Managing Board. At the time of the discharge, they approve the executive management of the Managing Board. The Supervisory Board commissions independent auditors to audit the annual financial statements and audit the management of the company as well. The components of the audit are also decided on by the self-governing body.
In this way, the members of the Supervisory Board ensure that the insurance contributions are managed on a sound basis and that TK can offer top-rate benefits and services.

Exclusive benefits for TK insurees

Where appropriate, the Supervisory Board utilises the option of offering "optional, non-statutory benefits". For example, the statutes provide for voluntary benefits that extend beyond what is required by law. TK insurees, for instance, can receive supplementary benefits if they need household (domestic) help, home carers, or home nursing care. Travel vaccinations for personal trips abroad and various excess plans are examples of other additional benefits that the Supervisory Board has laid down in the statutes.
To prepare for making these decisions, the Supervisory Board has established three expert committees: the Main Steering Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Committee on Social Policy. In addition, there are seven appeal committees.  

Influence on health policy

The Supervisory Board also takes a position in the health and social policy debate – advocating in the interest of TK insurees.The Supervisory Board sets health policy priorities and has adopted several resolutions and position papers in the past. As a representative of the interests of its insurees, the board has thus called attention to issues including patients’ rights, aspects related to prevention and health promotion, and, for example, has called for a future-oriented and competitive healthcare system with a strong self-governance approach.

Using freedom of scope to create innovative offers and programmes

The goal is to offer particularly high-quality treatment in line with the latest scientific standards. For this purpose, the TK Supervisory Board utilises the freedom of scope provided by the legislators.

TK has concluded a number of innovative healthcare contracts. For example:

  • Starting in the spring of 2010, TK became the first health insurance fund to cover the costs of a gentle treatment procedure to remove uterine fibroids without surgical intervention. Using bundled ultrasonic waves, these benign tumours can be destroyed without damaging the surrounding tissue.
  • Since 2009, young people over the age of 20 can be screened for skin cancer every two years at a dermatologist’s, simply by presenting their insurance card. This benefit is only legally required for people who are 35 and over.

Important role among the social health insurance funds [GKV]

The GKV-Spitzenverband [National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds] is the central association of health insurance funds pursuant to Section 217 of SGB V [German Social Code Book 5]. It was established as a result of the health reform enacted in 2007. All social health insurance funds belong to the association. The GKV-Spitzenverband undertakes all non-competitive tasks for the social health insurance funds. The contracts concluded by the GKV-Spitzenverband as well as its other decisions apply to all health insurance funds, their regional associations and thus to practically all of the 70 million persons covered by social health insurance, whose health is the focus of the association’s activities.

About the GKV

The GKV-Spitzenverband is the central representation and lobby of the social health and long-term care insurance funds in Germany and at the European and international level. "GKV" stands for "Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung" ["social health insurance funds"]. The Supervisory Board of TK is also responsible for important tasks within this association. 
The GKV-Spitzenverband supports the health insurance funds and their regional associations in fulfilling their tasks and safeguarding their interests. The Administrative Council of the GKV-Spitzenverband makes the strategic decisions with regard to the association’s scope of duties. TK is represented in this council by five members of its self-governance body. TK has also delegated representatives to the various expert committees.