NU Online News Service, July 1, 4:30 p.m. – Milliman USA Inc., Seattle, predicts rates for U.S. health maintenance organization coverage will increase by an average of 17% in 2003.

If that forecast comes true, the increase will be the largest Milliman has recorded since it began tracking HMO prices 11 years ago, Milliman says.

Ninety-five percent of the 100 HMOs that participated in the Milliman survey expect their 2003 rate increases to exceed 10%, and 70% expect their 2003 rate increases to exceed 15%.

Average regional increases will range from 14% in the East North Central region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, to 19% in the Mountain, South Atlantic and West South Central regions, which include 20 states and the District of Columbia, Milliman says.