Group medical insurance rates continue to climb and small businesses experience the highest rate of increase, a survey from the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers said.

The survey of 86 insurance brokers finds that rates for small accounts with 50 or less employees saw the most increases since the last survey in May.

Forty-seven percent of the small accounts experienced increases between 11 percent and 15 percent, while 19 percent saw increases in the range of 16- to 20 percent.

By comparison, for medium-sized accounts with 51 to 500 employees, 44 percent saw rates increase 11- to 15 percent, while 5 percent experienced increases of 16- to 20 percent. Thirty-five percent experienced increases of 6- to 10 percent.

For large accounts with 501 or more employees, 45 percent experienced increases ranging from 6- to 10 percent, while 17 percent saw 11- to 15 percent increases. Seven percent saw even less increases, between 1 percent and 5 percent.

Overall, 89 percent of small accounts saw some increase from 1 percent to more than 20 percent. Ninety percent of medium-size accounts experienced increases, while 70 percent of large accounts had reported increases.

The survey said many employers are not eliminating benefits but instead are using higher deductibles and co-pays and increasing the share of employee premium costs to help continue the health care benefit. It is also becoming more common to see employers using prescription drug co-pay.

The survey also found that for the most part group life insurance premiums are holding steady or are down slightly.