Private healthcare market headed for CC referral
by Gill Montia
Story link: Private healthcare market headed for CC referral
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has provisionally decided to refer the UK’s £5 billion private healthcare market to the Competition Commission for further investigation.
The watchdog’s key concerns include:
A lack of easily comparable information available to patients, GPs or health insurance providers on the quality and costs of private healthcare services.
Lack of transparency over the full costs of treatment for private patients.
A limited number of significant private healthcare providers and larger health insurance providers, at a national level.
Pockets of particularly high concentration in some local areas where private healthcare providers own the only local hospital or a “must have” facility.
Significant barriers to new competitors entering the market and being able to offer private patients greater choice.
According to the OFT, some larger private healthcare providers may impose price rises if an insurer proposes to recognise a new entrant on its network.
Finally, as a result of the study, the Financial Services Authority will begin working with the Association of British Insurers and health insurance providers to make it clearer for patients that they may face extra shortfall payments where policy limits are exceeded.