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Health care costs to rise more than 10%: Surveys


Health care costs are expected to increase by more than 10% in 2010 for employer-sponsored plans, according to separate surveys by two benefit consultants.

Aon Consulting, a unit of Chicago-based Aon Corp., projects an average 10.5% increase based on input from more than 60 leading health insurers representing more than 100 million insured individuals. The rate increases will average 10.4% for health maintenance organizations and point-of-service plans, 10.7% for preferred provider organization plans and 10.5% for consumer-driven health plans, according to the survey.

The trend rates projected by Aon are slightly lower than they were for 2009 for HMOs and POS plans, and the same rate of increase as last year for PPOs and CDHPs.

According to a survey by New York-based Segal Co., cost increases for managed care plans in 2010 will be about the same as in 2009, ranging between 10.2% and 10.8%, and high-deductible CDHPs will increase 11.9% next year, which is about 1% more than in 2009.

The Segal Co. survey also found regional variation among projected trend rates for PPOs and POS plans combined, with the lowest increase expected in the Midwest, 9.5%, and the highest in the Northeast, 10.9%.

Both surveys also projected prescription drug cost increases. While Aon's survey projects prescription drug costs will increase 9.3% in 2010, slightly lower than the 9.4% trend rate one year ago, Segal predicts prescription drug costs will rise just 9.1% next year.

Segal's survey included data from 80 health insurers, managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and third-party administrators.

The projections do not reflect plan design changes employers may make.

Aon Consulting's Health Care Trend Survey is available at The Segal Co.'s 2010 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey can be accessed at