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Wells Fargo Insurance Services’ Employee Benefits Trend Survey Suggests Cost Increases for Employers

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The cost of employee health plans is likely to increase in the next six months, according to Wells Fargo Insurance Services' biannual survey of claims trends among employee benefit carriers.

"As claims and costs continue to increase for employee benefits, many employers are looking for innovative strategies to control risk, involve employees in their healthcare, and manage the effectiveness of every healthcare dollar"

Surveying more than 60 insurance companies nationwide in the summer and fall of 2010, respondents said the cost of employee claims continues to increase in the low double digits, consistent with findings from Wells Fargo Insurance Services' previous survey earlier in the year. That claims trend reflects a similar increase in employer premiums.

According to the survey, average claims trends are increasing by 10.3 percent for health maintenance organizations (HMO) and preferred provider organizations (PPO); 11.6 percent for exclusive provider organizations (EPO) and indemnity plans; 10.2 percent for point-of-service (POS) plans; 10.5 percent for consumer driven health plans (CDHP); and 9.7 percent for prescription drug plans.

"As claims and costs continue to increase for employee benefits, many employers are looking for innovative strategies to control risk, involve employees in their healthcare, and manage the effectiveness of every healthcare dollar," said Dan Gowen, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Insurance Services.

The survey also found that provisions of federal healthcare reform that have already been implemented have not helped claims trends and not alleviated cost pressure in the healthcare industry. Among the other factors influencing claim trends and costs are increased utilization of services, the aging U.S. population, improvements in medical technology and drug therapies, changes in provider treatment patterns, and inflation.

Wells Fargo Insurance Services will conduct its next employee benefit trend survey, which also tracks trend factors for dental and vision coverages, in early 2011.

About Wells Fargo Insurance Services

Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc., headquartered in Chicago, Ill., is the fifth largest insurance brokerage firm in the world, according to Business Insurance magazine 2009, and the largest bank-affiliated insurance brokerage firm in the United States. We provide insurance brokerage and administrative services, as well as a wide range of financial and consulting services to thousands of satisfied customers. Today, Wells Fargo Insurance Services has approximately 200* offices across the nation with more than 8,200* professionals who place more than $15.5 billion* in risk premiums. For more information, visit wellsfargo.com/wfis.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 10,000 banking stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With more than 278,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked #19 on Fortune's 2009 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy all our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially.

*Figures include Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc., Wells Fargo Insurance, Inc., Wachovia Insurance Services, and Rural Community Insurance Services

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