Health Cost Hikes to Slow in 2007
Results from three recently released surveys show health benefit costs increases slowed in 2006 and will continue to in 2007. But health benefits continue to outpace wages and inflation. One survey reported that employers reporting lower costs have implemented programs to target high-risk behavior and encourage employees to be smart consumers of health services. Still, many employers are skeptical whether those steps will work.
Premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage rose an average 7.7 percent in 2006, less than the 9.2 percent increase recorded in 2005 and the recent peak of 13.9 percent in 2003, according to the 2006 Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the ...