Has Sagicor become a monolopy for health?

The recent announcement of the purchase of Blue Cross by Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited seems to have bypassed all of the financial experts out there. I expected there to be some concern about the deal but so far everyone including the Financial Services Commission (FSC) is keeping quiet. Here is the problem as I see it.

The purchase of Blue Cross by Sagicor will give them an estimated 95% of the total health care market with the only other major provider being Medecus which is a relatively new company. This will result in Sagicor essentially being able to operate as a monopoly. Some may see this as a good thing and promote that the new company will operate more efficiently due to economies of scale. This concept is that a single larger entity should operate more cost effectively than two separate entities. There is truth in this concept because less staff is required, only one administrative and computer system is required and only one Head Office.

However, lower costs are not the reality in most cases. Companies who dominate the market often charge higher prices because there is no one to compete with them. They pass on these higher fees to customers who have no other options. Ask the civil servants about this, originally both Blue Cross and Sagicor competed for the business, with the proposed acquisition the two have effectively become one. This cannot be a good way to resolve what has been such a contentious issue. One only has to remember what the telecommunications market was like before Digicel.

The FSC is supposed to regulate the industry in order to protect the consumer. First we had alternative investments now we have a potentially dominant health service provider. If the FSC does not have the power to address these issues then it needs to be given that power. If it has the power then it should exercise it.

Feedback Question: Is the Financial Services Commission really looking out for the interest of the cucstomers?

12 comments so far
admin Posted by: admin September 17, 2008 at 11:33 am