A large benefits consulting firm says it sees signs that double-digit increases in health care benefits costs are continuing.

Researchers at the firm, Buck Consultants, New York, a unit of Affiliated Computer Services Inc., Dallas, asked 79 insurers and benefits administrators about medical price trends.

The survey participants expect the rate of increase for preferred provider organization plans to rise to 10.7% in 2008, from 10.6% this year, and they expect the rate of increase for plans that incorporate health savings accounts or other personal health accounts to fall to 10.4%, from 11.1%.

Health maintenance organization plan cost trends should hold steady at about 11.1%, survey participants said.