Sunday, December 17, 2006

Were BUPA blocked from public sector group schemes?

Part of the basic problem with Risk Equalisation (RE) as the government have chosen to implement it is that the vast block of older people with health insurance who simply didn't move. Why was that?

Could it be that many people are actually members of group schemes rather than individual members and it is at this top level of those who selected which schemes were available that the choice has been made not to move. For example taking just the teaching sector the TUI, INTO appear from their websites have only VHI group schemes. Whereas the ASTI seems to have a 10% saving for both VHI and BUPA though their site only hosts a document related to VHI finances but not one for BUPA. Why would public sector organisations be favouring the VHI, I wonder? Could it be ideology, or protecting public sector jobs at the expense of the taxpayer? It would also seem that SIPTU also has only a group scheme link-up with VHI. Most private sector organisation will offer their employees a choice of scheme and then fund that group scheme with the usual discount since it is a group scheme.

It would be illuminating to know the extent to which public sector organisations are locked into group schemes with VHI and employees were not offered an option to choose between the 3 competitors. I continue to be surprised that no one in the dead tree meeja has bothered to investigate this.

I suppose this means the question in focus should be did large public sector organisations which had links with the VHI and the concept of a state operated monoploy insurer refuse to allow BUPA pitch for their group schemes?