CalPERS Projects Premium Rate Increases Consistent With National Average
Officials for CalPERS, the third-largest purchaser of health care in the nation, on Tuesday announced that premium increases for 2005 for its health program will be consistent with the projected national average of about 14%, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A report released last week by Hewitt Associates said that average HMO premium increases nationwide for large employers next year should be about 13.7% and for California and Western states about 13.5%. CalPERS' lower projected premium increases follow increases in HMO premiums of 18% in 2004 and 26% in 2003, both of which exceeded the national and regional averages at the time. "We're going to come in pretty well. Not as good as we would like, but not as bad as we feared," CalPERS spokesperson Clark McKinley, said. The fund, which is considered a bellwether for other large employers in the state and across the county, is still negotiating with insurers and is scheduled to vote on the increases on Wednesday. Exact projected increases were not released, the Chronicle reports. According to the Chronicle, negotiations over 2005 premium rate increases come just weeks after the fund decided to drop 38 of the most costly hospitals in the state from its Blue Shield of California HMO network to save an estimated $36 million in 2005 and up to $50 million in subsequent years (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.