The BBC has reported today that The US economy grew by an annualized rate of 5.7% between October and December, official figures have shown. The number, which is a first estimate, is a big rise from the previous quarter’s growth rate of 2.2%. It suggests the country’s economy is growing at its fastest pace for six years and confirms the US economy has left its year-long recession behind. This is very positive for Voluntary Benefits as it shows things are turning around.
A recent national healthcare trend survey from Buck Consultants projected double-digit rate increases for health insurance in the U.S. The study analyzed responses from over 100 health insurers and HMOs. Insurers providing medical trends for the survey cover a total of approximately 78 million people. Costs for the most popular medical plans are projected to increase by more than 10 percent. Rate increases for health insurance plans are supposed to increase 11.1% for Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) 11.1%, 10.9% for Point-of-service (POS) health plans, 10.3% for HMOs, and 10.3% for High Deductible Consumer Driven Health Plans. In 2009 average cost of health insurance for an individual in the US was $4,824, and for a family $13,375. With an average of over 10% rate increases per year by 2020 this means the cost of health insurance per year could be as high as or higher than $13,763 for an individual and $38,160 for a family per year. Now that healthcare reform has died, US health insurance carriers and employers are going to turn faster to creative solutions as a way to reduce healthcare costs as the US healthcare crisis continues to worsen.
Many will be suprised to here that healthcare reform in the U.S. may be dead. This is all because Republican Scott Brown won the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race. He wont he seat previously occupied by former Senator Kennedy. Senator Brown is the first Republican elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts since 1966. Massachusetts is primarily a Democratic State so it was a shock when Scott Brown one. Their are rumors that people in Massachusetts voted for Brown in order to kill the current US healthcare reform bill. Brown being elected removes the 60th vote that Democrats in the Senate needed in order to pass the bill. Brown’s election may also be a “wake up” call and scare other Democrats from continuing to support US healthcare reform because of a fear of not being elected. Today the white house weakened their optimisim that healthcare reform will be passed in 2010. Insiders at insurance companies and health insurance agents are rumored to have celebrated upon hearing of these news because of a belief this is an end to any efforts for US healthcare reform.