Health Premiums Continue To Rise, As Do Insurer Profits

October 30, 2002 ( - The increasing health insurance premiums seen this year could become the norm, according to a new report by A.M. Best Co.

Premiums are up 13% this year, according to the report, called ‘Justifying Premium Increases While Generating Record Profits.’ The report’s title is based on the fact that providers’ net incomes rose a steep 72% during the year. However, providers saw a decrease of 1.5% (89.8 million) in membership enrollment.

Insurance providers say a number of different factors account for the current and future increases:

  • New technology
  • Provider-group consolidations
  • Shortage of medical professionals
  • Increasing medical liability claims that continue to raise premiums for physicians, who pass the cost along

Employers have expressed concern over the increases, and insurers have responded by offering plans at reduced cost by reducing employee coverage.   So far, employers have been reluctant to accept such plans fearing those employees who need health insurance the most would be reluctant to elect coverage.  

Two-thirds of Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance, with 80-90% of those requiring employer contributions.   Estimates show health care spending could double by 2011 to $2.8 trillion, comprising 17% of the country’s gross domestic product according to government reports.

More information and the full report can be obtained at .