37 2 mins 15 yrs

795151-592129-thumbnail.jpgI was interested to read that health-insurance firm BUPA has announced that it is pulling out of the Irish market.

In a statement on its website, the company says it has no choice but to make the decision and is doing so with great regret. The move is expected to result in the loss of around 300 jobs, most of them in Fermoy, Co Cork. BUPA’s 500,000 customers have been told they will be covered for the duration of their existing contracts, but these contracts will not be renewed once they expire. The company had warned that it would leave the Ireland market after the High Court’s recent decision to uphold the risk-equalisation scheme.

In essence, the Irish High Court ruling meant BUPA would have had to pay compensation to the State-owned VHI because of its younger client base. The company claimed the move would force it to hand over €161m to its rival over three years, even though its profits for the period would be just €64m.

I can understand BUPA’s refusal to fund the State but it is all a very sorry affair. Wonder what ATW’s southern readers reckon????

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37 thoughts on “BUPA LEAVING….

  1. Im all for BUPA on this one. At the moment there are 3 operators in the private insurance market in the ROI. VHI ( State run ), BUPA and Vivas ( New Arrival )

    VHI has been around for years and has been fleecing customers for years. BUPA came on the market to offer competition, which they did successfully. However, just as BUPA starts enjoying its success the government tries to get them to pay over a percentage of their profits to the VHI to compensate VHI for the fact that it has a lot of older customers, and hence they wanted to ‘equalise’ the risk amongst the health insurers in the country.

    Its an absolute joke. I mean, can we extend this to then to car insurers, where companies with high numbers of young people on the books get compensation from those companies who have more people in the 40/50s ?

    Its a sad day for competition in the ROI. And its typical that the PDs ( The progressively LESS democrats ) are behind it all.

  2. At last — us Unionists have a cast-iron reason for resisting a United Ireland — we can’t join BUPA. This puts the final rivet in the copper-fastening of partition.

  3. Definitely Mad. Less competition means higher prices. Ive heard some awful stories about the waste in VHI, such as agreements that the have with hospitals.

    Apparently for some covered items, for the VHI to pay out you have to spend a certain amount of time in the hospital. So, even if the doc said you were fit to go home, you would have to stay in overnight just to get your bills paid. Wasting beds and costing money. They also have minimum price payment agreements with hospitals, so that if you stayed for 1 they would always pay for 3… things like this

    My level of detail is not very clear so I apologise, im just trying to remember back to examples given on radio shows and news reports in the past.

    VHI consistently raise their prices well above inflation every year. Sometimes I wonder why I pay social insurance.

    At the end of the day ive got my fingers crossed that the government will back down. There are something like 400,000 people affected by this.

    Are there many operators in the UK. Do they all operate in NI.

  4. While not commenting directly upon the post, mainly because I am not ‘au fait’ with all the ramifications, I would only point out a rather telling item noticed upon the BUPA website, which is that apart from English and Gaelic, they also produce their pages in POLISH. A timely ommentary on the true size of the latest ‘invasion’ from Europe. While not commenting adversely or otherwise upon the avalanche from the East, it does seem to have impacted upon the very nature and build of Ireland, and many would think that it may be a move for the better!

  5. >>they also produce their pages in POLISH<<

    Actually, quite alot of services are now available in polish in the ROI. You can ring your bank, car insurer and many more and get through to a polish speaking representative. There are a number of local polish magazines and a couple of the dailys run polish sections as well. There are polish ads on TV/Radio and other media.

    Getting back to the health care.

    There is talk of making health insurance COMPULSORY in the ROI. So even thought the state is taking paye related social insurance off me, they would now try force me to pay another state body, subscription fees as well. This all comes back to the fact that as long as public institutions are allowed to grow in their current fashion, the bill will have to be covered by joe soap.!

  6. I watched this one with interest.

    While I am impressed with the economic growth in the South, it has some serious structural issues to sort out as a result of its love affair with socialism.

    Its very similar to the almost theological belief that you cannot privatise Aer Lingus.

  7. >>it does seem to have impacted upon the very nature and build of Ireland, and many would think that it may be a move for the better!<<

    Im not sure exactly what you are getting at Mike. Im a little worried about the undertone of it…but anyway.

    Yes, as I repeatedly point out on ATW. The ROI is not the republic of 20 years ago. The last 20 years, and even the last 10 in particular, have had dramatic changes on the attitudes and expectations of the people in the ROI. The generation growing up now, the teenagers and younger, are again, at a completely different level to my generation, (very late 20’s).

    They have grown up, in the most, with easy accessible money, without the ‘poor old irish’ complex. They are confident, expectant, open minded, selfish ( 🙂 ) and, well very different to the Irish of old.

  8. >>Its very similar to the almost theological belief that you cannot privatise Aer Lingus.<<

    Classic example of socialism at its worst. They believe the company is there to serve their needs and not the needs of the customer

  9. >>At last — us Unionists have a cast-iron reason for resisting a United Ireland — we can’t join BUPA. This puts the final rivet in the copper-fastening of partition.<<

    And right ye are too !! 🙂

    Maybe Ian will raise it as a precondition to government

  10. Kloot,

    Isnt the it hilarious listening to Joe O’Toole and the unions reps bleating on about how terrible it is that Ryanair is trying to buy Aer Lingus.

    (Not that I would like to work for Michael O’Leary of course).

  11. My only regret is that A&E services cannot also be out to private tender.

    Can I ask why David? Have you ever tried to get a private run ambulance in a hurry? My sister did in New York and whilst rolling around in agony with her knee cap around her ankle they refused to give her painkillers til she came up with her insurance card. Thats after waiting ages to locate a private ambulance. It wasnt til they got to the hospital and someone turned up with her bag that they would. Thats pathetic.

  12. The south is essentially right wing in its economic outlook, but there is an election coming so FF remember their nationalist socialist inclinations and stuff the foriegn coprorations to protect wasteful over paid public sector companies.

  13. >>stuff the foriegn coprorations to protect wasteful over paid public sector companies.<<

    Its nothing to do with BUPA being foreign.

    The other company, which is Irish will have to pay out as well. Lets be clear about that.

    This issue has been dragging out for the last 2 years so its isnt an election thing either.. In fact, its an embarrassment to the government. They now have 400,000 Bupa customers losing their private health insurance over the next year

  14. Simple fact of life – private medical treatment, be it Human or Veterinary, leads to unnecessary procedures.

  15. I don’t think anyone can argue that this is anything other than bad for Irish healthcare. BUPA was the only real alternative to VHI (I’ve heard Vivas is a rip off).

    Anyone hear the rumour that VHI is going to be split up? How that will work is anyones guess?

  16. Lads, and especially Mad,

    The ROI is committed to having community rating for its private health care. That means a lot less risky 18 year old pays the same for their private health insurance as does a 98 year old. That’s the system and I agree with it.

    BUPA had 485k customers, but they are very much of the younger variety. BUPA were not functioning in a vacuum. VHI and BUPA operate using the same health services. As such they are joined, and as such special attention needed to be taken account of their customer base to allow community rating. If VHI is so terrible and charging a fortune then a competitor can undercut them. It’s basic economics. Now that BUPA realise they won’t be benefiting from profit skimming they’re back off over the Irish sea. Let Vivas, and the successors to the VHI benefit.

    And don’t forget, BUPA entered the Irish in full knowledge that there was community rating. I say let them sulk.

    In an interview today, Ahern basically told BUPA to mind and not to let the door hit their arse on the way out.

  17. Actually, if someone is good at photoshop can they forward to David a BUPA sign that is flat lining?

    It would seem much more appropriate

  18. Yes, kloot, but in this case you can’t allow a firm to cherrypick. BUPA knew that before they entered the market. No point crying over spilt milk now. I’m really sorry for BUPA that they’re not allowed make a Net Profit of EUR135 per customer. I’m all broken up so I am. 🙂

  19. Alison,

    Personal experience. (Not me directly, but my parents) It’s not the Ambulance service I criticise, they do their best. It’s the shocking state of A&E in my local hospital, the uncaring approach to patients, the drunkeness of some of the patients themselves (Mostly Eastern Europeans) and the filthy state of the washrooms, the jurassic condition of the cubicles in which patients reside, I could go on.

  20. Kloot,
    if you were paying for your health care, the bill would be around 600 euros a month as it is in other European countries.

    Are you?

  21. >>the bill would be around 600 euros a month as it is in other European countries.<<

    Garfield, Im not arguing against insurance per say.

    If public sector bodies were properly run, and were rid of their inefficiencies then I wouldn’t have a problem coughing up my PRSI nor increasing taxes for more improvments. However, more and more of my taxes are being thrown into the disaster that is health without return. And my VHI/Bups bills increase again to pay for these inefficiencies.

  22. Is the answer 1 Smcgiff? 🙂

    without risk equalisation the only other way is compulsory health insurance for all.

    Do you think it is worth while not bothering with Vivas or VHI and just sticking with the Health Service?

    Save the 45 euros a month and invest it?

  23. Smgiff,

    Dearbhaímid gur ceart ceannasach dochlóite ceart mhuintir na hÉireann chun seilbh na hÉireann, agus chun dála na hÉireann a stiúradh gan chosc gan cheataí!

  24. <Q>especially Mad</Q>

    why especially me ?
    I disapprove of private Healthcare. It leads to unnecessary procedures in my experience.

    All that I’ll say is that BUPA don’t want to operate in the ROI system, fair enough, it’s their choice to leave.

  25. This has been the toughest decision I’ve ever been involved in because for 10 years we’ve built up a business that I’m really proud of, and to be forced to walk away now is devastating.

    We didn’t want to be forced out of Ireland but we had no choice which is what we’ve been trying to say to everyone for some time. We’ve been trying to find a solution to this problem for ten year. When this scheme was brought in 2003 we warned this would happen but no one would listen. If we stay the reality is that we lose money.

    My biggest concerns are my colleagues and our members. We will continue to look after our members’ health care until their policies are due for renewal and I’ll be doing everything I can to help our people in Fermoy and Dublin

    I didn’t like having to make a decision like this so close to Christmas but the timing was not of our choosing.

    My 300 colleagues in Fermoy and Dublin can be very proud of what they’ve achieved over the past 10 years and they know I am proud of them. We’ll be doing everything we can to make sure they’re looked after.

    Martin O’Rourke

  26. Martin (if you’re still there),

    I’ve a feeling that BUPA will still be in Ireland in 10 years time, and then some.

    I think a compromise will be met.

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