Compiled by Alan M. Solomon, Ph.D.
Insurance premiums for HMO coverage for 2003 are surging more than 20%, according to a survey by a human resources company (Hewitt Associates). This will be three years in a row of double-digit increases.
As companies begin to negotiate contracts for health coverage for 2003, rates are increasing an average of 22% with the largest increase at 94%. HMO premiums for 2002 rose an average of 15.3%. Hewitt's website includes rate information for nearly 140 companies, covering more than one million employees. This was reported in the Los Angeles Times, Business section, on June 6, 2002.
In a related story with a more local focus, premiums for HMO coverage for California Public Employees' Retirement System, known as CALPERS, are increasing 25%, twice the increase in 2002. CALPERS is the nation's second largest purchaser of health care insurance (after the federal government), and therefore it is a bellwether for plans across the entire country. The advisory panel for CALPERS blames the increase on rising costs for medications and office visits. The president of the organization, William Crist expects businesses to begin dropping health plans for at least some workers: "It's a downward death cycle. It is a sea change that requires a public policy change." This was reported in Psychotherapy Finances, May 2002. Website: www,psyfin.com.
The facts about the frequency of psychological difficulties (contained in a survey by the National Mental Health Association):
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