Rate of Health Care Cost Increases Slows, Report Finds
The rate of health care spending growth in California slowed for the first time in seven years, but "health care spending continues to outpace inflation and wage growth, which is likely to keep the burden of rising health care costs in the spotlight," according to a report released Thursday by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Stockton Record reports.
The report traces health care spending over the past decade and uses data from CMS, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and the 2004 California Employer Health Benefits Survey to predict future spending trends.
According to the report, private health insurance premiums in the state are increasing by double-digit rates but have slowed in recent years. In 2004, premiums increased by an average 11.4%, compared to 15.8% in 2003, 13.4% in 2002 and 10% in 2001.
In 2004, monthly premiums for all types of family group-health plans averaged $834. Employees' average contributions increased from 26% in 2000 to 28% in 2004 (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 3/4). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to access the report.