Employer health benefits costs may increase a little faster in 2011, and the cost of high-deductible plans will rise about as quickly as the cost of other types of coverage, according to Buck Consultants.

Consultants at Buck, New York, a unit of Xerox Corp., Norwalk, Conn., have published this finding in a summary of results from a recent survey of about 120 health insurers and health plan administrators.

The survey participants, whose companies provide coverage for 95 million U.S. residents, expect the rate of increase for preferred provider organization (PPO) plans to be 11.6% in 2011. A year ago, participants were predicting an 11.1% increase in PPO coverage costs for 2010.

The predict rate of 2011 cost increases 10.6% for health maintenance organization (HMO) coverage, up from 10.3%, and 11.3% for high-deductible health plans, up from 10.3%.

- Warren S. Hersch