Costs for Health Plans to Increase More than 10%

January 28, 2010 ( - Costs for the most popular types of health care coverage are projected to increase at double-digit rates for 2010, according to a national survey of insurers and administrators by Buck Consultants.

A Buck press release said the projected costs are in line with the trends reported in its prior two surveys. For example, for Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) costs are projected to increase 11.1% in 2010. This compares to projected cost increases of 11% and 11.1%, respectively, in the prior two years’ surveys.

According to the press release, Point-of-Service (POS) plan costs are projected to increase 10.9% in 2010 (compared to 10.2% and 10.8% in the prior two years); Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) costs are to increase 10.3% (compared to 11% and 11.1%); and High Deductible Consumer Driven plans’ costs are projected to increase 10.3% (compared to 10.4% and 10.7%).

Health insurers reported an average prescription drug trend of 10.9%, up from 10.8% reported in the prior survey.

For plans that supplement Medicare, health insurers reported a projected increase of 5.8% excluding prescription drug coverage, down from 7.4% in the prior survey. Buck said the decline reflects the impact of federal controls on Medicare fees and the lower increases expected in Medicare deductibles and co-pays. 

In its 21st National Health Care Trend survey, Buck Consultants measured the projected average annual increase in employer-provided health care benefit costs. The study analyzed responses from over 100 health insurers and HMOs. Insurers providing medical trends for the survey cover a total of approximately 78 million people.

The survey report, which also includes trend factors for dental and vision plans, is available for $100 by calling 800-887-0509 or by visiting