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Business News/ News / Petro Moves to Take Over Private Insurer as Health Reform Stalls
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Petro Moves to Take Over Private Insurer as Health Reform Stalls

President Gustavo Petro’s government has started asserting control over one of Colombia’s biggest private insurers as his attempt to overhaul the health system bogs down in Congress.

Petro Moves to Take Over Private Insurer as Health Reform StallsPremium
Petro Moves to Take Over Private Insurer as Health Reform Stalls

(Bloomberg) -- President Gustavo Petro’s government has started asserting control over one of Colombia’s biggest private insurers as his attempt to overhaul the health system bogs down in Congress.

The South American nation’s health superintendent said Tuesday it will intervene in EPS Sanitas, which has 5.7 million users and is part of health group Keralty SAS.

Petro’s officials, including Health Minister Guillermo Alonso Jaramillo, have repeatedly said some health insurance companies don’t meet financial reserve requirements and therefore the government must step in. 

The industry, meanwhile, has warned that delays in payments and insufficient government transfers have been drowning private insurers in debt and putting their financial viability at risk. 

Luis Carlos Leal, head of the watchdog agency, said in a video posted on X that the “administrative intervention" will last for a year given the lack of compliance with financial requirements, among other reasons, and that the government isn’t liquidating the insurer.

Speaking from Congress, opposition senator Miguel Uribe said the government’s decision to step in on Sanitas, which has more than 5 million users, is a retaliatory move after lawmakers failed to approve the government’s plan for healthcare reform. Petro has sought to slash the role of private insurers as intermediaries, with the aim of allowing the government to pay care providers and medical professionals directly.

The government “is taking revenge on an EPS that it had been systematically pursuing," opposition lawmaker Andres Forero said. “The sad thing is that those who are going to be affected are" the patients.

--With assistance from Nicolle Yapur.

(Recasts with confirmation and context throughout.)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 03 Apr 2024, 06:17 AM IST
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