Aon: Health Care Costs Up 14.1% in 2004

May 3, 2004 ( - Health-care costs are projected to continue their double-digit increase through 2004.

Claims costs for HMO and POS plans are forecast to increase 14.1% on average for 12-month coverage periods beginning between April and September 2004.Additionally, pharmacy rate projections are showing an increase of 14.4%, according to Aon Consulting’s Spring 2004 Health Care Trend Survey.

Aon is also forecasting a 14.1% rate of increase for companies using consumer-driven plans, based on input from actuaries at health-care insurers. The firm though cautions that this projected rise should not be taken out of context.

“It’s important to look at overall cost for health care programs,” stated Bill Sharon, senior vice president with Aon Consulting and director of the study. “Our analysis reveals that a company can realize first year savings of up to 8% of their cost if they implement an effective consumer driven health care strategy.”

“So, although consumer-driven plans will likely see the same level of increase as other coverage plans this year, considerable savings will still be recovered by making the switch. It all depends on the financial incentives and the resulting changes in consumers’ health care consumption,” Sharon adds.