Britain's Biggest Private Healthcare Company Calls for an Industry Price Cut


Recently, Bupa, Britain's largest company for private healthcare, announced to the BBC that they believe they are charging their own customers far too much for care, and that the industry should be encouraged to think urgently about how they set their prices. A Bupa senior executive claimed that he thought costs should be cut by around 15% across the whole of Britain's private healthcare sector, and Dr. Damien Marmion, the managing director of insurance in Bupa, UK, suggested that the sector was in danger of serious 'decline' if actions were not taken soon.

The issues with cost

According to Bupa, the costs for private healthcare have been growing significantly faster than they had originally expected. As the company itself uses services that must be paid for, such as private professionals and hospital locations, they are forced to pay a certain amount of money so that they can effectively function.

A survey conducted by the company itself has suggested that over 50% of current customers feel concerned about the costs that come with paying for health insurance, and Dr. Marmion, announced that he was unhappy about the way each year brings a rise in costs for private healthcare customers, stating that 'we need to change that'.

Bupa are asking the healthcare sector to work as a team towards the goal of reducing costs by a minimum of 15%, so that patients are able to better afford the costs of healthcare. They believe that the sector so far has not provided the correct outcome for patients, and that private healthcare should be far more accessible. According to Marmion, like hotels or airlines, the more hospitals are filled, the 'cheaper it is for everyone'.

Working to provide a better opportunity for patients

In August of 2013, the competition commission, which is now part of an organization referred to as the 'competition and markets authority', announced that private hospitals were suffering from a lack of local competition, and that private insurers, including Bupa, should be required to provide better clarity on what their patients could expect as a result of their payments.

In response to this criticism, Dr. Marmion suggested that the company still had some work to do in addressing these concerns, stating that customers would benefit from a great degree of clarity 'and more transparency' in what their premiums actually provided. He acknowledged that today's customers are interested in rating systems and reference when it comes to information about what they're getting for their money, and announced that Bupa need to provide that for them.

Making money and helping people is one in the same

Because many of the private hospitals in Britain have now been overtaken by private equity companies, criticism has arisen regarding the suggestion that the desire to make a profit has overwhelmed the crucial needs of patients. Bupa itself sold a stock of twenty five hospitals in 2007, to a private equity company for over 1.4 billion pounds, but officials such as Dr. Marmion argued that this course of action had been 'the right thing to do' at the time.

It certainly sounds better than Obamacare according to many health care experts.