Buck: Look for Double-Digit Health Plan Cost Hikes

November 28, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new survey of insurers and administrators found that the most popular health care plans are expected to see double-digit price hikes into 2008.

A Buck Consultants news release found anticipated cost increases of more than 10% – results duplicated in the latest poll and one taken earlier in the year.

The latest anticipated price hikes (and differences between the early 2007 poll and the latest survey) are:

  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), 10.75%, +.15%
  • Point-of-service (POS), 10.54%, -0.02%
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), 11.14%, +0.03%
  • High Deductible Consumer Driven, 10.36%, -0.75%.

Health insurers reported an average prescription drug trend price hike of 11.68%, up slightly from the 11.33% reported in the prior survey. This is considerably higher than the 4.52% reported by pharmacy benefit managers. Health insurers reported lower trends for plans that supplement Medicare: 7.32% for plans with drug coverage and 6.82% for plans without.

“Insurers are concerned about the cost shifting to private employers that may result due to health care reform at the state level,” said Harvey Sobel, a Buck principal who directed the survey, in the release. “Complying with federal and state mental health parity laws is also expected to raise costs.”

The poll included input from 79 health insurers, HMOs, and third-party administrators. Insurers providing medical trends for the survey cover a total of approximately 91 million people.

The study is available for $100 from Buck’s Global Survey Resources, 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ, 07096-1533, 800-887-0509, or www.bucksurveys.com .