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Survey: Health plans forecast hike in group rates

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Health plans expect to charge higher premiums in 2018, but they also expect employer to adjust benefits to tamp down the increase, according to a survey by Sherlock Co., a consulting firm that works with health plans.

The survey of 53 health plans found that plans expect premiums to rise 7.2 percent for group commercial plans and 21.2 percent for individual commercial plans.

For group plans, the growth is 0.3 percentage points higher than expectations for last year. For individual plans, growth expectations are lower by 1.1 percentage points, according to Sherlock.

After accounting for adjustments to benefits - typically made to keep premiums lower - rates are expected to climb 5.6 percent for group plans and 18.2 percent for individual plans, the survey said.

The adjustments can include additional co-payments and higher deductibles for plan beneficiaries and individual consumers, said Douglas B. Sherlock, Sherlock Co.'s president.

Based in Montgomery County, the company has conducted the premium trends survey for 23 years. Respondents this year cover about 25.4 million people

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