The Competition Commission Inquiry into medical schemes and private healthcare market has found that of the 22 open medical schemes, about two schemes hold about 70 per cent of the market share.

The inquiry has found that Discovery Health Care holds 55% in terms of the number of beneficiaries. Hospital groups Netcare‚ Mediclinic and Life Healthcare have a combined market share of 83% of national private facilities in terms of the number of beds and 90% in terms of the total number of hospital admissions.

The Commission says overall the market is characterised by high and rising costs of healthcare and medical scheme cover with practitioners that are subject to little regulation and failures of accountability at many levels.

The report further shows that the market displays consistently rising medical scheme premiums accompanied by increasing out of pocket payments for the insured.

In some instances the inquiry identified features of the private healthcare sector that, alone or in combination, prevent or restrict competition.

The inquiry also found that health care specialised are mainly concentrated in urban areas.

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