Could Kaiser Permanente's low-cost healthcare be even cheaper?
Kaiser could offer health coverage that was high-quality and less expensive than conventional insurers. Today, it's a different story, says Mark Smith, head of the California HealthCare Foundation. The organization is no longer the bargain it used to be, he says, possibly because of what economists call "shadow pricing." Kaiser says its costs increase by about 5 percent each year. But some of Kaiser's biggest customers say their premiums have jumped much higher, in some cases 20 percent.
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