Health insurance premiums show smallest hike in recent history

The double-digit annual average percentage increases in health insurance premiums that prevailed in the late 1980s have given way to a modest 0.5 percent increase for 1996, according to a national survey of employers by the employee benefits consulting firm KPMG Peat Marwick, which attributes the welcome relief to the embrace of managed care plans in “decisions made in corporate board rooms rather than in Congress.” The survey also disclosed that HMOs have replaced indemnity plans as companies’ most frequent health-insurance choice, with 33 percent of health plan enrollments versus 26 percent for conventional insurance, and broke out recent premium increases by health plan types. HMO premiums actually dropped this year, the survey said. (Another survey reported a second annual HMO-premium decline.)

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