Buck Consultants Survey Indicates Slower Trend in Health Care Costs for Employers

Share Article

The increases for most health care coverages are slowing, according to a national survey of insurers and administrators released today by Buck Consultants.

Drug trends are at the lowest level in the seven years we’ve been conducting the survey, having dropped in half since 2002.

The increases for most health care coverages are slowing, despite continued double-digit increases throughout 2006 and into 2007, according to a national survey of insurers and administrators. The survey released today by Buck Consultants, an ACS company and one of the world’s leading human resource and benefits consulting firms, analyzed responses of more than 70 health insurers, HMOs and third-party administrators.

In its 16th National Health Care Trend Survey, conducted in July 2006, Buck determined the projected average increase in employer-provided health care benefit costs. Insurers providing medical trends for the survey cover a total of approximately 58 million people.

As the data below indicates, costs for the most popular plans continue to increase at more than 10 percent, although they have dropped between one and two percentage points when compared to trends reported in Buck’s previous survey, conducted in November 2005.

Type of Plan: Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

16th Survey: 10.9%

15th Survey: 12.7%

Difference -1.8%

Type of Plan: Point-of-service (POS)

16th Survey: 10.8%

15th Survey: 12.0%

Difference -1.2%

Type of Plan: Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

16th Survey: 10.8%

15th Survey: 11.8%

Difference -1.0%

Type of Plan: High Deductible

16th Survey: 11.0%

15th Survey: 12.3%

Difference -1.3%

Health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers reported prescription drug trend factors that are approximately two to three percentage points lower than those reported in Buck’s prior survey.

Respondent: Pharmacy Benefit Managers

16th Survey: 6.9%

15th Survey: 9.8%

Difference -2.9%

Respondent: Insurers

16th Survey: 11.4%

15th Survey: 13.5%

Difference -2.1%

Respondent: Combined

16th Survey: 8.2%

15th Survey: 11.1%

Difference -2.9%

Harvey Sobel, FSA, a Buck Principal and Consulting Actuary who directed the survey, said the survey results are encouraging for employers.

“Although health care trends are still higher than the general inflation rate, employers should see more moderate rate increases in 2007,” said Sobel. “Drug trends are at the lowest level in the seven years we’ve been conducting the survey, having dropped in half since 2002.”

Health insurers use trend factors by coverage – such as medical, prescription drugs, dental and vision care – to calculate their premium rates, and large self-funded employers use these trend factors to budget their future health care costs. In general, trend factors provide for price increases that may result from such variables as inflation, utilization of services, technology, changes in the mix of services, and mandated benefits.

Buck’s survey also includes trend factors for Medicare supplement, dental and vision coverages.

Buck Consultants, an ACS company, is a leader in human resource and benefits consulting with more than 1,500 professionals worldwide. Founded in 1916 to advise clients in establishing and funding some of the nation’s first public and private retirement programs, Buck is an innovator in the areas of retirement benefits, health and welfare programs, human resource management, compensation and employee communication. News and other information about Buck Consultants is available at http://www.buckconsultants.com. Buck is an independent subsidiary of Affiliated Computer Services, Inc.

ACS, a global FORTUNE 500 company with more than 55,000 people supporting client operations reaching nearly 100 countries, provides business process outsourcing and information technology solutions to world-class commercial and government clients. The Company's Class A common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ACS." ACS makes technology work. Visit ACS on the Internet at http://www.acs-inc.com.

The statements in this news release that do not directly relate to historical facts constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside the Company's control. As such, no assurance can be given that the actual events and results will not be materially different than the anticipated results described in the forward-looking statements. Factors could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. For a description of these factors, see the Company’s prior filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent filing. ACS disclaims any intention or obligation to revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future event, or otherwise.

Buck’s 16th “National Health Care Trend Survey” is available to the media by contacting Ed Gadowski at (201) 902-2825. It is available to other interested parties for $100 from Buck’s Global Survey Resources, 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ, 07096-1533. Telephone (800) 887-0509.

Media Contact:

Ed Gadowski

Media Relations

Buck Consultants

201-902-2825

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Edward Gadowski
Visit website