The preliminary findings of a recent inquiry into South Africa’s private healthcare sector shows worrying trends. Key among the inquiry’s revelations are high concentration levels in the market.
For example, the report shows that 70% of the open medical schemes market is controlled by two players – Discovery Health Medical Scheme and Bonitas. The market for restricted medical aid schemes is dominated by the Government Employees Medical Scheme, with a 47% market share. The medical scheme administrators market is controlled by three players, Discovery Health, MMI Holdings and Medscheme. These three have a 70% combined market share.
The situation is no better in the market for private hospitals. Three hospital groups – Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare – hold 83% of the national market.
The concentration problem in the private healthcare sector is further compounded by integration. Two of the largest medical scheme administrators, Discovery Health and