Supermarkets and other retailers are close to signing deals to offer own-label private healthcare to customers as the latest attempt to extend their services.
A source close to negotiations says Tesco is likely to be the first supermarket to offer the service and is in talks with several private medical insurance companies.
A private health company source says his company is actively pitching for supermarket business: “The supermarkets see a huge gap opening up because of poor provision in the National Health Service,” he says.
He adds that the supermarkets would position the services for the whole family. “Healthcare provision is a great fit for supermarkets, which are trying to build their caring image and extend customer service.”
It is likely they will brand the services with a healthcare tag.
The supermarkets are already planning to provide private pen-sions as part of their new banking operations.
A Tesco spokeswoman says its new banking deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland, announced last week, does not prevent the supermarket from working with other financial service providers on private medical insurance.
“At the moment we are talking to lots of companies about a range of services, but it is too early to give information,” she adds.
PPP Healthcare and Norwich Union are seen as prime contenders for own-label healthcare provision.
Norwich Union Healthcare is launching a private medical insurance operation with Abbey National this summer. NU Healthcare is likely to join Abbey National’s tie-up with Safeway on the ABC Bonus card.