Is a 9.9% increase for all forms of plans coincidental?

Is HHS serious about controlling insurance premiums?

Quote of the Day comment by Don McCanne
PNHP, December 21, 2010

As far as setting a threshold for selecting the level of unreasonable premium increases which would be reviewed, Health and Human Services (HHS) has decided that plans with less than 10 percent premium increases would not be reviewed. That is a level well in excess of measures of medical cost inflation. Imagine compounded premium increases of 9.99 percent per year on top of premiums that are already unaffordable.

An improved Medicare for all... has to be better than a 9.9 percent compounded increase in premiums that we would be mandated to pay to the perverse, intrusive private insurance industry.


Small Comfort: Health Care Costs Projected to Increase Less Than 10 Percent, First Time in Decade

Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company
April 5, 2012

Costs for all types of medical plans are expected to increase by 9.9 percent for 2012, according to a survey by Buck Consultants, A Xerox Company (NYSE: XRX).

In a national survey of 129 insurers and administrators, Buck measured the projected average annual increase in employer-provided health care benefit costs. Insurers and administrators providing medical trends for the survey cover a total of approximately 109 million people.

Health insurers use trend factors to calculate premium rates, and large self-funded employers use these trend factors to budget their future health care costs.

Buck’s National Health Care Trend - 24th Survey

9.9% - Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

9.9% - Point-of-service (POS)

9.9% - Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

9.9% - High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)


By Don McCanne, MD

Buck Consultants has completed a survey of insurers and administrators showing that each and every form of employer-provided health plan is projecting cost increases of 9.9 percent. Is it a mere coincidence that all of these increases are just below the 10 percent threshold for subjecting insurance premium rate increases to federal government review?

Even though many employers self-fund their plans, the 9.9 percent figure supposedly represents projected increases in total medical plan costs for this year, and not just increases in health care costs. In recent decades, health care spending has increased at rates about 2 percent higher than the growth of GDP which ideally grows at a rate between 2 and 4 percent. The combined total is still less than the increases in insurance premiums, now pegged at about 9.9 percent.

How long can we anticipate having government-sanctioned 9.9 percent annually-compounded private insurance rate increases?

Regardless, isn't it time that we eliminate employers and private insurers as intermediaries in our health care financing? We would give ourselves a much better deal through our own public financing system.