Study predicts premium hikes

Despite 1997 premium increases of only 2.1% reported in KPMG Peat Marwick LLP’s annual Health Benefits survey, Peat Marwick analysts predict 1998 employer premium hikes greater than the health care inflation rate.

"Some analysts view 1997 as the calm before the storm, and there are strong reasons to believe so," says James E. Buckley, a partner in charge of KPMG’s Compensation and Benefits Practice.

Among other findings in KPMG’s study:

• Managed care plans represent 81% of insurer enrollment nationwide, up from 74% in 1996.

• Only 51% of workers had the option to choose an indemnity plan, down from 57% in 1996.

• Employers continue to select health plans based on traditional concerns such as cost and provider access, rather than on quality indicators such as NCQA accreditation.