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What's Really Driving the Increase in Health Insurance Premiums?

Jun 09, 2009

Anthem plans across the country are working to develop innovative products and programs that help address rising health care costs. Through pay for performance initiatives, consumer directed health plans and transparency initiatives; Anthem is providing access to the information needed to drive down health care costs.

While many people may believe that insurer profits are the driving force behind increasing health insurance premiums, research reveals very different reasons for the high cost of health insurance.

Dollar Bill Graphic

*Includes prevention, disease management, care coordination, investments in health information technology and health support. Based on a PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis, Factors Fueling Healthcare Costs 2008, 2008 America's Health Insurance Plans

A May 2009 report titled "What's Really Driving the Increase in Health Care Premiums?" addresses the issue. The report, issued by the WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge, compiles research from sources such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Congressional Budget Office.

According to the report, the "key drivers" of spiraling U.S. health care costs are: 

Citing PricewaterhouseCoopers research from 2008, the report found that only three cents of every health care premium dollar is spent on health insurer profit.

According to the Institute's report, newer medical technologies tend to increase costs because they are generally more expensive than the older technologies they replace. While the availability of more advanced, superior technologies can yield better results for some patients, these technologies and diagnostic tests may be used inappropriately in some situations where existing, older technologies are more effective and accurate.

View a copy of the full report, "What's Really Driving the Increase in Health Care Premiums?"

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