Big employers might be winning the battle against double-digit health coverage rate hikes.[@@]

The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Washington, says many brokers who participate in its semiannual benefits broker survey see health premium increases for big employers moderating.

About 58% of the participating brokers told the CIAB that average renewal rates for their large health coverage accounts, or health plans covering more than 500 workers, have been falling, holding steady or increasing less than 10%.

Changes in average renewal rates for midsize accounts, or health plans covering 51 to 500 workers, have ranged from decreases to increases of less than 10% for 50% of the participating brokers, the CIAB says.

But for small accounts, or plans covering 50 or fewer workers, changes in average renewal rates have ranged from decreases to increases of less than 10% for just 32% of the participating brokers, the CIAB says.

Meanwhile, on the group life side, about 63% of the participating brokers are reporting that premiums are holding steady or falling for small accounts, 79% are reporting steady or falling rates for midsize accounts, and 77% are reporting steady or falling rates for large accounts.