Insurers see medical costs trending up 5 to 8 percent this year despite affordability push

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WALTHAM — Bucking marketplace changes aimed at making health care more affordable, the cost “trend” driving what Massachusetts employers are charged for insurance is expected to climb 5 to 8 percent this year, insurance executives told an employer group Thursday.

That is substantially higher than the state’s target of capping increases in total medical spending at 3.6 percent, a benchmark established last year to bring costs in line with the projected rate of annual economic growth in Massachusetts. But the insurance executives stressed that their forecast — based on a formula combining the price of health care visits, tests, and procedures with the amount of care used by patients — does not mean the state will fall short of its goal.

But it does mean employees should be ready for more out-of-pocket expenses.

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