Weiss Ratings

Higher Co-Pays for Drugs and Doctors Cited as
Most Significant Change to Health Insurance Coverage

JUPITER, February 7, 2005 — More than 58 percent of consumers cite higher co-payments for prescription drugs and physician visits as the most significant change to their health insurance coverage during the past year, according to a recent online survey conducted by Weiss Ratings, Inc., the nation's leading independent provider of ratings and analyses of financial services companies, mutual funds, and stocks. Higher prescription drug co-pays were cited by 34.3 percent of consumers polled, while 23.8 percent indicated higher co-pays for physician visits.

The results of the online survey were based on voluntary responses from 915 individuals visiting the Weiss Ratings website (www.WeissRatings.com). Presented with the question, "How has your health insurance coverage changed most this year?," respondents were asked to vote once for one of five choices. The following is a summary of all responses received:

How has your health insurance coverage changed most this year?
• Higher prescription drug co-payments 34.3%
• Higher physician visit co-payments 23.8%
• Other 15.7%
• Changed provider 15.0%
• Loss of health insurance 11.3%

"Skyrocketing healthcare expenses have forced insurance companies and hence employers to pass more costs onto their employees, resulting in higher co-pays," commented Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss Ratings, Inc. "This trend is likely to continue as consumers are forced to take more responsibility for an inefficient healthcare system."

Weiss Ratings, Inc. reviews more than 8,000 stocks daily, including all those traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, and Nasdaq. Weiss also issues investment ratings on more than 12,000 mutual funds, covering equity, fixed-income, and closed-end funds, and provides financial safety ratings on more than 15,000 financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies. It is the only major rating agency that receives no direct or indirect compensation from the companies it rates for issuing its ratings. Revenues are derived strictly from sales of its products and custom research solutions to consumers, institutions, businesses, libraries, and governmental agencies. Ratings and analyses, consumer financial and investment guides, and other products are available for purchase through www.weissratings.com or by calling 800-289-9222.

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