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Health Care Cost Increases to Continue at Double Digit Rates, According to Buck Consultants Survey
Date:9/11/2008

NEW YORK, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Costs for the most popular types of health care coverage are projected to increase at double-digit rates through the remainder of 2008 and into 2009, according to a national survey of insurers and administrators.

These are among the results of a survey released today by Buck Consultants, an ACS company and one of the world's leading human resource and benefits consulting firms. The study analyzed responses from 79 health insurers, HMOs and third-party administrators.

In its 19th National Health Care Trend Survey, Buck Consultants measured the projected average annual increase in employer-provided health care benefit costs. Insurers providing medical trends for the survey cover a total of approximately 98.7 million people.

Costs for the most popular plans (see chart below) continue to increase by more than 10 percent, and are slightly higher than the trends reported in Buck's previous survey, conducted in late 2007.

Type of Plan Buck's National Health Care Trend

19th Survey 18th Survey Difference

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) 11.1% 10.7% +0.4%

Point-of-service (POS) 10.8 10.5 +0.3

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) 11.1 11.1 -

High Deductible Consumer Driven 10.7 10.4 +0.3

Health insurers reported an average prescription drug trend of 11.4 percent, down slightly from the 11.7 percent reported in the prior survey. This is considerably higher than the 7.8 percent reported by pharmacy benefit managers (who generally do not take any underwriting risk).

For plans that supplement Medicare, health insurers reported a projected increase of 6.9 percent excluding prescription drug coverage. This lower trend reflects the impact of federal controls on Medicare fees and the lower inc
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SOURCE Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.
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