opened manilla folderIn its annual National Health Care Trend Survey, HR and benefits consulting firm Buck Consultants has projected that the cost of healthcare increases for all types of medical plans should be down by between 0.1 and 0.5 percent in 2014. This continues the steady trend of declines begun in 2010. The survey measured the projected average annual increase in employer-provided health care benefits costs and covers the insurers and administrators of the plans held by approximately 119 million people.

Buck found costs are projected to increase at rates lower than prior surveys:


  • 8.7 percent (2014)
  • 9 percent (2013)
  •  9.2 percent (2012)


  • 8.5 percent (2014)
  • 8.8 percent (2013)
  •  9 percent (2012)


  • 8.6 percent (2014)
  • 8.7 percent (2013)
  • 8.8 percent (2012)


  • 8.6 percent (2014)
  • 9.1 percent (2013)
  • 9.1 percent (2012)

“This may be a result of the economic slowdown and its impact on consumers’ willingness to seek medical treatment,” said Harvey Sobel, FSA, a Buck principal and consulting actuary and co-author of the survey. “Even though the decline is good news, most plan sponsors still find 8-9 percent cost increases unsustainable.”

“It’s too soon to tell the impact of public and private health exchanges on trend,” said Daniel Levin, FSA, a Buck principal and consulting actuary and survey co-author. “It may take another few years before we really know if (and by how much) the exchanges will “bend” the cost curve.”

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