Health costs to moderate in 2006, survey says

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Health costs for preferred provider organizations are expected to level off next year, according to a survey of health plans and other players from a consulting firm.

The projected trend for preferred provider organization costs in 2006 is 12.4% (12.7% including drug costs), according to the 2006 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey. That compares to the year-earlier projected trend of 12.6% (13.1% with drug costs) for PPOs.

Segal Company, which issued the survey, described the trend figures as the forecast change in health plans' per-capita claims cost.

The 2006 projected rate of increase for prescription drug costs is approximately 14%, compared to a 15% increase that was projected for 2005, according to an analysis of the data used. The survey noted that cost trends for prescription drugs have slowed by approximately 6 percentage points from a 19.7% high in 2001.

See the survey report at: http://www.segalco.com/publications/surveysandstudies/2006trendsurvey.pdf