Health Premiums Climb
Buffalo (N.Y.) News: "Two of the region's three dominant health insurers intend to raise premiums on average by double digits for next year, and the third wants a double-digit increase for plans not structured as health maintenance organizations. The premium for one insurance plan could rise almost 36 percent. The insurers cite rising costs of medical care and federal health care reforms." The increases must be approved by the state (Epstein, 10/10).
The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News: "Area workers can expect to pay more for health insurance next year, but controversial new health care laws won't be a big part of the projected cost increases, experts say. Despite the projected jump, [a state insurance official] estimates health care reform laws taking effect next year - such as requiring employers to cover workers' dependent children up to age 26 and the elimination of lifetime limits on insurance coverage - will contribute only marginally to the total cost of health plans being presented to workers this fall during the open enrollment season" (Tucker, 10/11).
American Medical News: "Workers are expected to pay more for health care coverage in 2011 than in 2010 as part of the steepening rise in premiums and employees' share of the cost. Experts say that increase could keep workers from getting the care they need. The average cost of group health insurance coverage is expected to rise 8.8% from 2010 to 2011, the highest increase since 2005, when premiums rose by about 9.2%, according to research by Hewitt Associates, a human resource consulting firm in Lincolnshire, Ill (Berry, 10/11).
The Wall Street Journal: "It's open-enrollment season, the annual rite of fall when health-care costs hit home for most people. Companies typically allow employees to elect their benefit packages once a year. Making this season especially tricky: the health-care overhaul, which is leading to confusion-and sticker shock-for many employers and workers alike" (Johnson, 10/9).
In a separate article, The Wall Street Journal reports: "Pharmacy-benefit manager Express Scripts Inc. is unveiling a new program that aims to contact people who fail to take their prescription drugs-before they actually stop. The company Monday will announce an initiative intended to predict in advance who's most likely to discontinue a medication regimen, and keep those people on their drugs with interventions such as letters or phone calls. This is an effort to encourage compliance and offer help such as mail-order prescriptions" (Mathews, 10/10).