Group medical premiums continue to increase nationwide, according to the May Employee Benefits Market Survey conducted by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers. Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted last year, many carriers and brokers blame the legislation for the increase rates, states CIAB.
“Members continued to see premium increases for clients, though the rate of increase has slowed for some groups since our November survey,” says Ken A. Crerar, president of CIAB. “Demand for brokers’ services continued to be high as employers continued to implement the changes from last year’s health care reform legislation. Nearly all accounts went through a renewal since the enactment of PPACA a year ago, but there is still significant confusion among employers about implementing the law.”
The survey showed that since the November survey, group medical renewals for small, medium and large accounts had significant rate increases. Small accounts saw the largest increase, with 62% seeing an increase in the 11–20% range. Medium accounts saw a 75% increase in the 6–15% range while large accounts saw the lowest premium hikes, with 55% seeing an increase in the 1–10% range.
Most benefits consultants (more than 50%) reported little or no change in the clients’ group life insurance renewal rates. Medium and large accounts saw a decrease of 17% in the 1-5% range while small accounts saw an increase with 16% in the 1-5% range.
Employers expressed interest in moving toward implementing consumer-driven health care programs such as high-deductible health plans combined with health savings accounts. Of those brokers responding to the survey, 43% said that between 10% and 30% of their clients expressed an interest in moving all or part of their health benefits plan to this model.
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