When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, medical costs suddenly went flat. People began putting off elective surgeries as a safety precaution, and medical providers, needing to increase hospital capacity, stopped performing these procedures as well.

According to a study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and National Public Radio, 1 in 5 Americans delayed health care during the pandemic. As a result, big PPO carriers found themselves with a considerable amount of money left over, allowing them to keep 2021 renewal rates lower than years past. But that relief likely won't be permanent.

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