PREMIUM COSTS: California’s Lowest In The Nation
While the state's health care premium costs are on the upswing, "they are still the lowest in the nation and the slowest growing," according to a new survey. Conducted by Milliman & Robertson Intercompany, the survey found that California's rates remained about $115 this year -- 23% cheaper than the national average of $138, the San Francisco Business Times reports. That amounts to annual savings of $8 billion for California companies relative to others across the nation. But compared with more expensive regions such as New England, where the average premium is $170, the savings are even more significant. "Fundamentally, it means the state of California is saving $15 billion a year compared with Boston and New York. That's consumers and corporations," said Steve McDermott, executive director of Hill Physicians Medical Group Inc. "And we're healthier, too," he added. Pat Powers, executive director of the Pacific Business Group on Health said, "California is the most efficient market in the country, and that's reflected in our premiums." The Business Times reports, however, than many health plans and HMOs say they can't keep up the low prices as they "are losing money or just barely breaking even." But Powers "said it's not too much to ask the industry as a whole to keep rates low." She said, "All of our companies are facing very similar pressures (to the health care industry). We don't expect reductions. But we don't think the system deserves hefty increases, either" (Bole, 12/14 issue).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.