RATE TRENDS: Pacific Business Group Finalizes 1999 Rates
The Pacific Business Group on Health Negotiating Alliance yesterday concluded its negotiations for 1999 rates with HMOs. The alliance -- which represents such large businesses as Bank of America and Chevron Corp. -- said it negotiated an average 8.1% rate increase in medical premiums for the 12 California HMOs with which it contracts (PBGH release, 6/23). The sizeable increase was attributed to Kaiser Permanente, which secured a "double-digit" rate hike," the Los Angeles Times reports. Excluding Kaiser's rate hike, the average rate increase secured by the PBGH was 3.8% -- an increase the Times notes is "in line with state and national trends for medical costs" (Olmos, 6/24). PBGH Chair Sherrie Matza said, "We were very pleased that most health plans stayed in line with the consumer price index. However, we were especially disappointed with the rate action of our largest carrier, Kaiser." Kaiser said it needed the increase to offset its $270 million in losses last year, attributed to "rapidly expanding membership," the Contra Costa Times reports (Appleby, 6/24).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.