Cost of health insurance claims to rise in 2011

By Megg Mueller on November 1st, 2010

A newly released study by Aon Consulting probably won't come as much of a shock to many people; the cost of getting health insurance through your employer could go up by as much as 10 percent next year.

The annual study found that insurers think they may pay 10.7 percent more in preferred provider organization (PPO) plan claims, which was the most common type of health insurance plan in the survey. Costs for health maintenance organization (HMO) plans and other types of medical insurance could also rise by as much as 12.4 percent.

It's not certain, of course, that your premiums will increase along with claims paid. In fact, Aon's study for the previous year anticipated a 10.7 percent increase in paid claims; however, premiums for family coverage only went up 3 percent this year, and single employees paid just 5 percent more.

It's hard to point just one finger at the culprit of rising health care costs and related health insurance costs. One perpetrator behind this increase, according to Aon, is the rising cost of prescription drugs. However, factors like our nation's high obesity rate and general poor health, the high rate of unemployment and health care reform are also catching blame for the increased costs. Unfortunately, blame doesn't equal lower costs, and until health care in the U.S. is sorted out, you can bet that at least some of costs will be passed on to consumers.

One upside, the study's authors note, is that due to these rising costs, employers may start to strongly push wellness and health management programs to try to lower health insurance rates. Being able to positively impact our health is a huge bonus, as is the ability to potentially help lower the price we pay for health insurance.

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