Dental costs on the rise

In another wallet-emptying piece of news, the cost of most healthcare coverage plans is projected to increase by more than 10 percent through the end of 2007 into 2008, according to the "National Health Care Trend Survey" of insurers, HMOs, and administrators conducted by Buck Consultants.

According to trends provided by insurers, employers are likely to pay 10.75 percent more for PPO coverage and 11.14 percent more for HMO coverage. Dental PPO costs rose by 5.71 percent in the beginning of 2007 and will continue to rise at the same rate into 2008, according to the survey. Dental HMO costs, which grew 4.3 percent in the first half of 2007, will increase by 4.88 percent in the second half.

Insurers cited a number of factors for the increase in medical costs, including inflation, increased use of new diagnostic tests and technology, more state and federal government mandated coverage, and limited reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, which forces insurers to shift costs to employers offering their workers health insurance.

A total of 79 health insurers, HMOs, and third-party administrators participated in the survey. Buck Consultants has conducted this survey on a semi-annual basis since Jan 1. 1999.

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