Group Health Plans Costs Expected To Increase Double Digits

Group health care plan costs are expected to increase by double-digit amounts in most parts of the world in 2012, according to a Towers Watson & Co. survey released Monday.The biggest cost increases are expected in North America, where costs are projected to rise 11% in 2012, according to the survey of health insurers. It is followed by Latin America, where costs are projected to rise by 10.5%, and Asia/Pacific, where insurers project cost increases of 10.2%.The smallest projected cost increase—8.1%—was in Europe, followed by the Middle East/Africa with projected cost increases of 10%.The three biggest reasons cited by respondents for rising costs are new medical technology, cited by 52%; medical providers recommending too many services, cited by 50%; and providers’ efforts to boost profits, cited by 31%.The survey is based on the responses of 237 insurers operating in 48 countries.