Providing workers with employer-sponsored healthcare coverage remains a key aspect of employee benefits management, and a new survey of 126 insurers and administrators found these costs are going to keep increasing this year – albeit at a slower pace than in the past.
The "28th National Health Care Trend Survey" by consulting firm Buck Consultants found the annual projected growth for group health plans will increase by less than 9 percent this year. However, these increases aren't as high as in the last two surveys. Point-of-service (POS) plans will rise 8.5 percent this year, compared to increasing 8.8 percent during the 27th survey and 9 percent during the 26th one. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) will also see slower growth, rising only 8.6 percent compared to 8.7 percent and 8.8 percent during the 27th and 26th surveys respectively. According to the survey, one of the reasons for this slowdown may be due to reduced utilization of benefits by workers and their dependents.
Yet the Los Angeles Times reported some government officials and health experts consider the deceleration of costs to be from the Affordable Care Act and alterations to the healthcare industry. Either way, the newspaper noted healthcare costs continue to increase.