Private health costs to soar in 2008

Employers’ private medical costs will soar by 8% this year, according to a poll of worldwide insurance firms.

The survey of 85 global insurance companies found that seven in 10 expected higher or significantly higher medical costs over the next five years.

Expensive medical technology, increased use of medication, new treatments and an ageing population are all blamed for the above-inflation rises.

An increasing number of employers are likely to review their medical plans as prices rise, according to the consulting firm behind the survey, Watson Wyatt.

Senior consultant Elliott Hurst said: “Some employers may decide to move the focus of their medical benefits away from timely access to treatment, private rooms and a choice over hospitals and specialists, towards providing employee access to drug therapies and other treatments that the NHS will not, for cost reasons, be prepared to offer.”

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