Insurance premiums expected to surge in 2016, survey finds: 4 reasons why

Health insurance companies report premiums will continue to increase into 2016 with claims trends exceeding general inflation for at least the next 18 months, according to Wells Fargo Insurance's Spring Healthcare Trend Survey.

The survey, which included more than 65 insurance companies nationwide, found that overall claim costs will continue to increase by 7 to 10 percent, resulting in even higher premium rates in 2015 and 2016.

Results from the survey revealed four main contributors to the projected rise in healthcare premiums.

  • Medical claim increase trends remain in the high single digits. Despite the relatively stable year-over-year claim trends (ranging from 7.2 percent for HMO to 9.0 percent for indemnity fee-for-service annually), costs remain at unfavorable levels for employers.
  • Increasing usage and costs of specialty drugs. The survey indicated a continued increase in prescription drug prices as a result of price increases in generic drugs, as well as rising utilization of specialty biotech drugs, such as Abilify and Crestor.
  • Healthcare claim trends for 2016 are expected to increase for most products. Claims for HMOs, PPOs, point-of-service plans, consumer driver health plans, indemnity plans and prescription plans are all projected to increase between zero and 1 percent.
  • Additional contributors. Survey results also indicated claims trends are influenced by price inflation or deflation, increased or decreased use of services, aging, the leveraging effect of benefit design features, changes in provider treatment patterns and improvements in technology and drug therapies.

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