BUPA members lose in hospital battle

Negotiations over funding have collapsed between private hospital operator Healthscope and health insurer BUPA. As a result, BUPA members will have to pay for a large part of their treatments at Healthscope hospitals, particularly in South Australia, where Healthscope manages about 40 per cent of the state's hospitals. Previously such stand-offs have resulted in patients opting to change health funds but this time Healthscope may face a harder battle. BUPA is a large player having recently acquired HBA and Mutual Community from AXA Asia Pacific.

Healthscope's MD Bruce Dixon claims BUPA is refusing to give any rebate despite the Federal Government approving a big increase in premiums. BUPA countered that Healthscope's demand for an 11 per cent increase in funding is not fair or reasonable and has advised its members to use hospitals other than Healthscope's. If BUPA wins this battle, pressure will be applied to hospitals to cut costs as more funds reject demands for increased funding.