Aon Forecasts 2004 Health Care Increase Of At Least 16%
Employers can expect cost increases of 16% or more for health care next year, according to the latest forecast from Aon Consulting, a unit of Aon Corporation, Chicago.
One surprising finding of the survey is that rate increases among different types of plans are narrowing.
Aon Consultings Spring 2003 Health Care Trend Survey forecasts rate increases for plans with pharmacy benefits of 16.4% for health maintenance organizations, 16.1% for point-of-service plans, 15.7% for paid provider organization plans and 17.2% for indemnity plans.
The figures are based on data from actuaries at more than 20 leading medical, dental, pharmacy and vision insurers, Aon says.
The increases were higher than those the actuaries predicted in 2002 for this year for HMOs and POS plans, which were both forecast at 15.1%.
Next years increases for both PPOs and indemnity plans would actually be down slightly from this years forecasted rise of 15.8% for PPOs and 18.1% for indemnity plans.
For group policies without prescription plans, the forecast rate increases for 2004 are 14.7% for HMOs, up from 14% the year before; 14.5% for POS plans, up from 13.9%; 14.4% for PPOs, down from 14.6%; and 16.4% for indemnity plans, down from 17.2%.
Actual rate increases for 2003 are close to those predicted by carriers actuaries, says Bill Sharon, senior vice president of Aon Consultings health and welfare practice.
However, few employers actually pay the rates predicted in the forecast because they make adjustments, such as changing carriers or raising employees deductibles and copayments, Sharon notes.