BUSINESS SHORTS

Few people switch health insurers

THE RATIO of people who use state health insurance companies to those who use the private sector will remain almost unchanged next year.

More than 260,000 people changed their insurer before the deadline of September 30, which they are allowed to do every year, the Sme daily wrote. That's 500,000 fewer clients than last year.

The chairman of the Health Care Supervision Office, Richard Demovič, announced the preliminary numbers on October 12.

Private insurers reported the biggest moves. Dôvera, the health insurer owned by the Penta private equity group, gained the highest number of new clients - almost 100,000. The Union insurer reported the biggest loss, with about 150,000 clients switching to another insurer. As a result, Union's market share shrank by three percentage points to six percent.

Demovič said he was surprised by this drop, as the Health Policy Institute think-tank rated Union as the best health insurer in Slovakia.

The state-controlled health insurance companies, Všeobecná Zdravotná Poisťovňa and Spoločná Zdravotná Poisťovňa, lost a total of 22,000 clients. State insurance will still dominate next year, when the two insurers will control 67 percent of the total Slovak market of about 5.4 million people.

Among the private insurers, Dôvera continues to hold the biggest market share, moving from 15 percent to 16 percent. Európska Zdravotná Poisťovňa, controlled by the J&T private equity group, also got a boost, moving from one percent to three percent of the market. Apollo's share of eight percent remains unchanged.

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