Crunching the numbers in South Africa’s Health Market Inquiry

This week’s infographic breaks down the salient data from South Africa’s Health Market Inquiry, the findings of which were released in full earlier this month.

In many ways, the Competition Commission’s (CC) report simply confirms what everyone knows already. The private healthcare market in South Africa is highly concentrated, both on the hospital provider side and the medical schemes administrator side. It says this allows Life Healthcare, Netcare and Mediclinic to secure steady profits year-on-year and make it “difficult for new entrants to grow and compete on merit.”

The three-slide infographic below highlights their market share, the gulf in provision between private and public sectors (by beds per 1,000 insured/non-insured people) and the profits of the largest health insurer Discovery versus its nearest competitors.

The report also details annual increases in costs per year by specialities, both by outpatient consultations, overnight admissions and overall costs to the healthcare system. See the first two in the infographic below.

Overall costs to the healthcare system, in both surgical and non-surgical disciplines, are also broken down by inflation, explained factors and unexplained factors. Toggle through disciplines with the tab at the top. The biggest unexplained cost jump was in neurology, over 10%.

Overall the CC has recommended that insurers must provide a standardised minimum benefits package that all customers are required to buy, which should mean that customers can better compare the premium products. It also wants to develop a way for potential customers to see

It also wants to increase the strategic purchasing of spare capacity from the private sector and has not said that authorities need to wait for the introduction of NHI.

On the services side, the CC says a primary objective is to build the capacity to measure and report on patient-centred outcomes as at the moment there is no objective system that patients can use to select practitioners or facilities.

HBI will be continuing coverage of the 260-page competition report by taking a more in-depth look over the next few weeks, as well as following up on which regulations are implemented.

We would welcome your thoughts on this story. Email your views to Cameron Murray or call 0207 183 3779.