WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Cost containment and quality improvements helped slow down health insurance premium rate growth in the United States, a trade association said.
The federal government released data which reported health insurance premiums grew at a rate of 5.5 percent in 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available, marking the slowest rate of growth since 1997.
"Health insurance premiums grew at the lowest rate in a decade due to the cost containment and quality improvement activities implemented by health insurance plans," Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans, said in a news release.
Health insurance plans also are making progress in making better use of healthcare dollars, she said, "as evidence by the smaller increase in out-of pocket and administrative costs compared to the increase in total health spending."
The national trade association represents nearly 1,300 companies providing health insurance coverage.