According to a recent poll of insurers by Buck Consultants, part of Xerox Corp, a decline in patient volume is leading to a slower rise in medicare insurance premiums. The firm polls insurers to locate an average medical trend and the most recent answers averaged out to the lowest speed of growth in a decade.
The medical trend is a significant factor that insurers employ to set premiums, along with previous period losses and changes in benefits and insurers’ administrative operating cost. The average medical trend used for PPO, HMO, Medicare supplement Plan and high-deductible plans averaged 9.9% for the premiums that started in July 2011, as per Buck’s most recent report, made public in April.
The trend does not comprise the effect of benefit design variations like higher deductibles and co-pays and less liberal coverage. The firm’s poll is planned to be used by their clients and self-insured employers who need to health plans use the numbers to forecast their medical costs.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study released in November 2011, physician office visits by privately insured patients younger than 65 declined by 17% between 2009 and 2011, The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics informed in April that visits to physician offices plunged 4.7% in 2011, after a 4.2% drop in 2010. IMS data has been derived from a sample of 4,100 physicians reporting on two days of office visits every quarter for medicare Plans.
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