With that staggering estimate in mind, the Segal Company analysts warned plan sponsors in the 2003 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey that they need to redouble their cost-saving efforts before their health costs get out of hand.
In the study, Segal projects that rates for all health care plans are expected to jump by more than 14% this year with health maintenance organization plans predicted to be hit with the greatest increase in 2003 relative to 2002 projections.
“Plan sponsors are facing a new round of challenges to balance the needs of their participants with their increasing fiscal pressures,” the Segal researchers wrote in a report. “Health plan sponsors must make health care cost containment a top priority and adopt a new round of strategies and tactics to meet those needs.”
Segal said that some of the factors helping to drive up health coverage costs have been:
- consolidation of health provider groups allowing providers to hammer out agreements calling for higher reimbursement levels from insurers
- higher wages for nurses and pharmacists due to labor shortages in those areas
- higher malpractice premiums
- unnecessary doctor visits
The Segal report fetures a series of recommended plan sponsor cost-cutting steps including hammering out more aggressive terms with health coverage vendors.