RISING HEALTH COSTS: Hospitals May Not Be Main Culprit
Employers report that their health care costs will rise almost 10% this year, up from 7.5% in both 1999 and 1998, according to a new study from Watson Wyatt Worldwide. The study notes that hospital fees will rise only 3%. The high costs of prescription drugs and insurers' strategy of "passing on costs rather than absorbing them to gain market share" are the main culprits behind the price hike. As a result, 70% of employers said they would pass some of the costs on to employees. The study, conducted with the Washington Business Group on Health and the Healthcare Financial Management Association, surveyed 503 employers, 953 providers and 69 large health plans (Wall Street Journal, 3/9).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.