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Employer Programs Are Reducing Healthcare Costs

Bad news in the paper today: health care costs are expected to rise another 10.5% next year. It’s a serious problem that affects businesses and families across the country.

But the headlines miss something important: the rate of increase has been steadily slowing.

Are we already bending the health care cost curve?

Here is a chart of the rate of increase in health premiums for a PPO plan beneficiary from 2002-2009 (all data are from today’s Aon press release):

curve1

The data for other plan types are similar.  What’s happening?

Aon’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Berger says it’s because of the variety of measures employers have taken over the last several years to implement programs to improve their employees’ health.  He emphasizes there is still much more to be done.

He has a point. It’s something we have seen in our survey of major employers, and in the work that leading employers like EMC and Genzyme are doing.  It’s what my company does, too.  Employers are getting increasingly sophisticated at understanding what drives their health care expenses and are developing increasingly effective ways at addressing them.

So, yes, of course, we need reform of our health care system, and of course rising health care costs are a serious concern.  But American employers are doing something about these problems all on their own.

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*


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