Competition Commission: Insurers' first thoughts

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Bupa, Aviva and AXA PPP Healthcare have welcomed the publication of the Competition Commission's investigation into the private healthcare market.

The report identified consumer detriment and poor competition in the sector resulting from factors including consultant incentives, ‘tying or bundling' when a hospital network operator might respond to a loss of business in one area by raising prices nationally and poor  information on prices and quality for patients.

Dr Damien Marmion, managing director at Bupa Health Funding said: "This is good news for patients and private healthcare. It could be the treatment required to drive better value, better quality and greater transparency for customers.

"Millions of people with health insurance rightly expect high-quality healthcare for an affordable price. By tackling the lack of competition that has damaged the sector for too long, the Commission has understood the need for strong action and has put patients first."

He added that Bupa will continue to work with the Commission to support them in driving its proposals for the benefit of customers.

In a statement AXA PPP Healthcare said: "We are encouraged by the direction that the investigation is taking, which is consistent with our experience of how the market operates in practice.

"We look forward to working with the Commission on its possible remedies as it brings the investigation to its conclusion in the interests of consumers across the market."

Bupa's Dr Marmion added: "This is the most important potential reform to the UK's private healthcare market in decades. The sector has been given a golden opportunity to halt the decline and to grow the market for the benefit of consumers - everyone must now work together to ensure that this chance is not wasted."

"We have long been campaigning for a better deal for customers. The Competition Commission has clearly recognised that structural changes are needed in the market to make this happen.

"We hope that the Commission will take forward its bold proposals to drive better quality and value for money. By doing so they can help many more people afford private healthcare and the benefits it can bring."

Meanwhile Aviva said:"We believe that the proposals set out in the notice of possible remedies will improve the healthcare market for the people it serves. This will be achieved through greater competition between providers and greater transparency over the cost and quality of consultant and hospital services.

"Private Medical Insurance provides an incredibly valuable benefit for both customers and employers and we want to make it more affordable without compromising quality and service."

 

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