By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
In 2019, employers expect health care costs to decrease due to a more favorable claim experience and a reduction in provider reimbursement rates, according to recent research from Buck. The 37th National Health Care Trend survey found that while increasing at a slower rate in 2019, costs for employer-sponsored health plans will continue to outpace general inflation.
Health care insurers and pharmacy benefits managers report that the rate of increase for prescription drug costs (including price and utilization) are coming down by 1 percent overall for each group. According to health insurers, the increase in prescription costs is projected at 10 percent (vs. 11 percent six months ago).
Buck measured the projected average annual increase in employer-provided health care benefit costs for four types of plans and found costs for preferred provider organizations (PPOs) will increase 7.5 percent in 2019 versus the projected 8.1 percent six months ago. Point-of-service (POS) plan costs are projected to increase 7.2 percent (versus 7.6 percent six months ago), health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are projected to increase 7.7 percent (the same as six months ago), and high-deductible consumer-driven plan costs are projected to increase 7.4 percent (versus 8.2 percent).
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