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Milliman Survey Indicates Lower Health Insurance Rate Increases
Date:7/30/2008

SEATTLE, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Preliminary results from Milliman's 2008 Group Health Insurance Survey indicate premium rate increases continue to exceed the government's official rate of inflation but are lower than premium increases in recent years. The 2009 estimated January renewal increases of 8.5% for Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and 9.4% for Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) continue a trend toward lower increases since peaking at 16.1% in 2002. This marks the sixteenth year that Milliman has conducted the survey.

The Milliman survey is unique in that it asks HMOs and PPOs to respond regarding a given set of benefits and demographics. The survey removes three important factors that can skew the results of other health cost surveys: differences in benefit design, cost sharing levels and member demographics.

Doug Proebsting, co-author of the report, notes that "Possible contributing factors to the rise in healthcare costs beyond the average rate of inflation (excluding aging and benefits) include increasing consumer demand due to direct to the consumer marketing and the availability of medical information on the internet. Rising rates of chronic conditions (like obesity, diabetes and asthma), new technology, specialty drugs, a move away from traditional managed care (such as preauthorization and closed network products), cost shifting impact from government healthcare programs and the uninsured, and the recent surge in building new hospitals also may contribute to the rise." On the other hand, Proebsting noted, "Potential factors contributing to the deceleration in recent rate increases include added consumer cost awareness as evidenced by higher use of generic drugs, lower utilization within HSA high deductible plans, and an economic downturn that may leave less money available for discretionary care for some people."

The survey was sent to the nation's HMOs and fully insured PPOs that serve the commercial, large a
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SOURCE Milliman
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