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Aon predicts smaller increase in healthcare costs in coming year


CHICAGO Healthcare costs are expected to increase an average of 10.6 percent in the next 12 months, according to Aon Consulting Worldwide.

Aon Consulting surveyed more than 70 leading healthcare insurers, representing more than 100 million insured individuals, and found that healthcare costs are projected to increase by 10.6 percent for health maintenance organizations, 10.5 percent for point-of-service plans, 10.7 percent for preferred provider organizations and 10.5 percent for consumer-driven health plans. These represent the lowest trend rate increases since the study began in 2001, and are slightly lower than one year ago, when HMO cost increases were 10.9 percent, 10.8 percent for POS plans, 11.2 percent for PPOs and 10.7 percent for CDH plans.

Prescription drug costs are expected to increase 9.2 percent, which is slightly lower than the 9.5 percent trend rate one year ago. The specialty pharmacy trend rate is 12.2 percent, down from 15.1 percent in spring 2007. Aon Consulting points to the sluggish rate of drug adoption across the board, compounded by the FDA’s reduced rate of drug approvals—especially for new molecular entities and biologic products—as the contributing factors leading to this decline.

In addition, health care rate increases for retirees over the age of 65 are projected to be 7.3 percent for Medicare Supplement plans and 7.7 percent for Medicare Advantage plans, down from 11.2 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively, one year ago.

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