Employer Health Plan Costs Likely to Increase

November 17, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The cost of employee health plans is likely to increase in the next six months, according to Wells Fargo Insurance Services' biannual survey of claims trends among employee benefit carriers.

The survey found average claims trends are increasing by 10.3% for health maintenance organizations (HMO) and preferred provider organizations (PPO); 11.6% for exclusive provider organizations (EPO) and indemnity plans; 10.2% for point-of-service (POS) plans; 10.5% for consumer driven health plans (CDHP); and 9.7% for prescription drug plans.   

A press release said claims trend reflects a similar increase in employer premium.  

The survey also found that provisions of federal health care reform that have already been implemented have not helped claims trends and not alleviated cost pressure in the health care industry. Among the other factors influencing claim trends and costs are increased utilization of services, the aging U.S. population, improvements in medical technology and drug therapies, changes in provider treatment patterns, and inflation.   

Wells Fargo surveyed more than 60 insurance companies nationwide in the summer and fall of 2010.