December, the Office of Fair Trading published its report on the private
healthcare market. It concluded that competition might not be as strong as it
could be and so it has provisionally decided to refer the sector to the
Competition Commission for investigation.
is currently consulting on the report before deciding whether its provisional
decision should be confirmed. The OFT has the power to accept undertakings made
during the course of the consultation instead of making a reference to the CC
but this seems increasingly unlikely.
report contains examples of specific undertakings or orders that might be
agreed or made by the CC to address the adverse effects identified. These include: a ban on provisions in
contracts between health providers and private medical insurers that are
triggered by the insurer recognising new rival facilities to its network.
The OFT has persuaded regulators and trade bodies to strongly encourage
health insurers to make it clearer to customers that they may face extra
shortfall payments when there are limits which apply to the amount payable
under their insurance policies.
Private medical insurance news: 16 February 2012