Health care cost projections

Business Insurance reports that

Large U.S. employers expect to pay 6% more for health benefits in 2009, the same rate of increase as 2007 and 2008, according to preliminary findings of a survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the National Business Group on Health.

The cost increases were partially tempered by the growing use of consumer-driven health plans, which are now offered by 51% of employers, up from 47% in 2008, according to the survey.

Employers where at least half of their workers enrolled in a CDHP have a two-year cost trend that is 25% lower than non-CDHP sponsors, the survey found.

I find it interesting that over half of employers now offer consumer driven health plans, meaning plans featuring health reimbursement accounts or health savings accounts.

Speaking of health care costs, Sage Works has confirmed one of my basic operating hypotheses — that dentists are quite profitable because they don’t rely heavily on third party reimbursement. According to a Sage Works report, dentists have been the most profitable industry over the past 12 months. Physician’s offices are in sixth place, and lawyers in third.