Smaller Increase in HMO Premium Rates Expected
Initial estimates indicate that HMO premium rates will increase by an average of 11.7% next year, compared with estimates of 12.4% this year and 13.7% in 2005, according to a report released on Tuesday by Hewitt Associates, the AP/Detroit Free Press reports. The report, which Hewitt based on a Web site that collects initial estimates for HMO rates, included information from 160 employers with more than one million employees.
Final HMO rates might change based on revisions to health plans, prices and health care providers. According to the report, final HMO rates likely will increase by an average of 7% or 8% next year, compared with 10% this year. The report also finds:
- 23% employers required a $5 copayment for generic medications this year, compared with 46% in 2002;
- 9% of employers required a $15 copay for generic medications this year, compared with none in 2002;
- 52% of employers required a copay higher than $50 for emergency department visits this year, compared with 33% in 2005 and 16% in 2003; and
- 32% of employers required a copay of $50 for ED visits this year, compared with 55% in 2005.