Strategic responses to increased competition in the healthcare industry; the case of private health insurance sector
Indeed, health insurance industry had experienced an unprecedented competition especially in the unregulated private heath insurance sector. Although the insurance is broader in perspective, this study was deliberately carried out to determine the extent to which competition had increased in the private healthcare insurance sector. The study was also geared towards finding out the strategic responses of the private healthcare providers to increased competition in the industry. Data was collected using both the open-ended and closed-ended questionnaires administered by interviewing all the 14 firms in question. The data was further analyzed using tables, mean scores, standard deviation and co efficient of variation. The study revealed that majority of the firms interviewed changed their objectives, vision, goals and mission statements for the past decade in a bid to increase market share and improve quality customer service. This changes were also contributed by increased competition where firms need to adopt to new environments in order to survive and improve profitability. The level of competition in the sector was very high with 85.7% of the firms testifying to this, while attributing it mainly to price undercutting due to rising healthcare costs. IX The study indicated that there exists an unexploited ability to pay for private health insurance that requires to be changed into a willingness to pay. Therefore, one way of achieving this is through public education on the benefits of health insurance and the perils of being uninsured. Generally, the study pointed out various strategic responses adopted by firms to offer quality services to 'nowadays' sophisticated customer and increased competition.