Healthcare costs to increase in near future

By Diana Vilares
December 8, 2006

Joanna Jhanda

Health care costs could rise more than 10 percent in 2007, unless companies change their plans, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Insurance carriers anticipate medical costs to rise across all plan designs, including health maintenance organizations , preferred provider organizations, and consumer directed health plans,” said PwC. “In 2007, PPO costs are expected to rise 11.9 percent, HMOs by 11.8 percent and consumer-driven health plans by 10.7 percent.”

Due to the increase in insurance premiums, employers are finding themselves pushing some extra costs onto their workers. Employees, however, especially those in unions, are fighting to hold onto their rights to full coverage.

“Health care has emerged as the top concern, replacing wages and job security on the picket lines and at the bargaining table,” said Stephanie Armour and Julie Appleby of USA Today.

The increase is a result of a multitude of factors such as higher prices for hospital care, drugs and other services; increased use of medical care and insurers’ push for higher profits. Armour and Appleby said that the “demand by patients for less restrictive managed care also played a part.”

Some workers are made to decide which they would prefer, higher wages or preservation of their benefits.

Seniors Rachael Perrault and Jessica Watson both said that they think health care plans do less than most would expect anyway. “I have Blue Cross and they don’t cover anything it seems like. I have to pay about $65 to get my prescriptions filled and after a while it adds up,” said Watson, a senior psychology major.

“I know that the health insurance company my parents are under don’t cover all of the necessities either. My parents have to pay out of their pockets for certain medical issues, issues you would think an insurance company would cover,” Perrault said.

One thing college students are reminded to check into upon graduation is the health benefits offered by their potential employer.

Kate Hertzler, sophomore education major, said that her main priority after graduating is getting a well-paying job to pay off her student loans and has never thought to ask about health benefits. “I’ve just never considered it. Actually, I think that it’s something that a pretty good amount of young people over-look and really shouldn’t. I wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’d have to give up my pay or my health because I forgot to ask when I had the chance.”

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Diana Vilares

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