Health insurance premiums increased 8.8% between 2004 and 2005, markedly lower than the 13.7% increase in 2002, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers for America's Health Insurance Plans. More than one-third of the rise was due to a 13.6% increase in outpatient spending -- the result of the growing popularity of stand-alone clinics, researchers said. Overall, premium growth slowed despite increased utilization and higher costs, according to the report. Higher utilization of services accounted for 43% of the increase, fueled by factors such as increased consumer demand, new and more intensive medical treatments, and defensive medicine. Read the report. -- by Matthew DoBias
Health insurance premiums post 8.8% rise: report
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