June 14, 2010
PriceWaterhouseCoopers has released a new report predicting that medical costs in the United States will rise 9% next year, down slightly from 9.5% this year but still well ahead of inflation. The report is based on interviews with health plan executives, a survey of employers and hospital-based health plans, and reviews of analyst reports. It analyzes several factors affecting medical costs, both in upward and downward directions.
Among the downward pressures are the trend for employers to return to pre-managed care benefit design by increasing deductibles and replacing co-pays with coinsurance. In 2011, for the first time, most employers to have a deductible of $400 or more. “…[I]n 2010, the most common plan among employers surveyed by PwC had a deductible of between $400 and $999. The trend in deductibles has been remarkably fast. In 2008 and 2009, the most common plan had no deductible. In addition…high-deductible plans are now the primary plan for 13% of employers surveyed…, up from 6% in 2008.”