Arroyo Grande, CA (PressExposure) January 26, 2009 -- At websites such as http://www.BestHealthcareRates.com consumers can compare side-by-side, health insurance plans from many competing companies. âIt is very easy to quickly spot which plans are strong in certain areas or weak in others, or which plans are priced well,â said Dawn Carolan, a principle at BestHealthcareRates.com. âInsurers are forced to design plans that are benefit rich and competitively priced or lose out to a competitor.â Health care costs are expected to rise more than 10 percent into next year, according to a survey of insurers by Aon Consulting Worldwide.
But that increase is the smallest Aon has seen in six years. Experts say it shows that efforts to tame costs combined with the increased competition, may be paying off. Aon Consulting surveyed about 70 health insurers around the country, including companies such as Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. It found that actuaries expect costs to rise an average of 10.6 percent during 12-month rating periods starting this year between April and September.
That represents a slight drop from last year's forecast of 10.9 percent and a bigger fall from 2002, when health care costs were expected to rise by more than 16 percent. Costs are still rising to keep up with growing patient demand for services, the needs of an aging population and prescription drug and technology costs, according to Aon Consulting.
Overuse and misuse of services and an "out-of-control medical liability system" also contribute to increases, said Robert Zirkelbach of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade association representing nearly 1,300 insurers.
"It is encouraging that the growth in health care costs is going down, but there is still more work to be done," he said.