Health plans are paring plan rates they boosted in 2011 to cover health reform mandates, reports Buck Consultants in its National Health Care Trend Survey. That factor along with reduced medical utilization due to weak economic conditions resulted in the survey projecting a 9.9 percent average increase in 2012, the first time the figure fell below 10 percent since 2001.
Daniel Levin, a Buck principal and consulting actuary who directed the national survey of 129 insurers and plan administrators, noted that despite the lower expected increase this year, “health care costs continue to outpace both general inflation and wage increases, creating real business challenges for organizations.” Levin added that plan sponsors are showing increased interest in health insurance exchanges and accountable care organizations.
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