HMO premiums for 2004 will be up about 18 percent, according to preliminary data gathered by Hewitt Associates. Despite the continued double-digit climb, researchers believe that the rates might be starting to moderate. About 140 employers, representing nearly 1 million workers, are negotiating rates at about 17.7 percent compared to 21 percent at the same time last year. "The good news is that this may signal the moderation of health care increases over the next few years," says Ken Sperling, east market leader for Hewitt's health management practice.
Preliminary premium increases by region, 2003 vs. 2004
NOTE: Estimates do not factor in plan changes, negotiations, and terminations. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole percentage point.