HMO rates will rise by the lowest amount in more than five years in 2006 -- about 12.4% nationally, according to a preliminary analysis by Hewitt Associates. Despite indications that HMO costs will continue to moderate, companies still face double-digit rate increases and are adjusting their offerings to share more of the cost with employees, the data showed. For example, the number of companies with $20 office copayments jumped to 25% in 2005 from 16% the previous year, while the number of employers offering $10 copays dropped to 22% from 29%. Higher copayments are also being used to shift more of the cost of prescription drugs, specialty care and emergency room visits to employees. -- by Cinda Becker
HMO rates to rise lowest amount in five years: report
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