Cost increases for health services should lessen for both employers and the health insurance plans that serve them in 2008, according to two major consulting companies. Employers can expect to see single-digit increases in what it costs to provide coverage to their workers next year, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Findings are based on a survey of five large insurance companies representing about 30 million members.
PricewaterhouseCoopers points to where most of the costs lie: physician services, followed by hospital inpatient care.
Meanwhile, the Segal Co. found that nearly one quarter of the PPOs it surveyed expect to see less than a 10-percent increase in health plan per capita claims costs, though it adds that changes in the costs to plan sponsors "can be significantly different from the projected claims cost trends" for a lot of reasons.
Nearly one third of the more than 70 health insurance carriers, pharmacy benefit managers, managed care organizations, and third-party administrators surveyed by Segal "reported prescription drug trends for 2008 of less than 10 percent, up from 3 percent of respondents in the 2004 survey.
Sources: "Behind the Numbers: Healthcare Cost Trends for 2008," PricewaterhouseCoopers; 2008 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey