Germany's public health funds expect to lower monthly payments by the end of the year, according to an announcement made by the AOK, one of the largest of the funds, on Friday. The AOK announcement was quickly followed by similar news from other funds. After posting a deficit of €805.6 million ($996 million) in 2003, a spokesman said AOK would likely have a surplus of €960.4 million for the first half of this year. The huge turnaround is largely attributed to savings associated with the recently-implemented healthcare reform. Although the extent of the payment decrease will depend largely on the regional members of the AOK, the fund's head, Hans Jürgen Ahrens, told German broadcaster WDR he hoped they would mange to bring payments to below 14 percent of people's income.