The cost of health insurance plans will rise next year by at least 10 percent, insurers and plan administrators surveyed by consulting firm Buck Consultants say.
The consultancy found that the most common plans will cost significantly more in 2011. The two most popular types of coverage offered in American workplaces – Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans – will cost more than they did this year: The former's price tag will rise 10.6 percent and the latter's price will increase by 11.6 percent.
Two factors – the healthcare reform legislation enacted earlier this year and the possibility that older workers will retain coverage longer – are driving the sharp cost increases, Buck Consultants actuary Harvey Sobel said. "Due to current economic uncertainty, insurers may be projecting higher claim costs because employees who remain after layoffs tend to be older and more expensive to insure," he indicated.
What the consultancy's findings mean for young workers is that out-of-pocket healthcare costs may increase. This year, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in September, employees paid 13.7 percent more in family-coverage premiums – while employers' premium costs fell 0.9 percent.