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Health Care Costs Shift To Workers in '03

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MCLEAN, Va., Dec 08, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new survey indicates employers avoided rising costs for health care this year by shifting costs to their employees.

Spending on health care by employers in 2003 rose 10.1 percent, compared with a 15 percent rise in 2002, according to a survey of 3,000 small and large employers by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

USA Today reported Mercer found 30 percent of employers held their per-employee health benefit cost constant or even reduced it from 2002 to 2003 -- a feat achieved by only 22 percent of employers in 2002 -- by increasing worker contributions, especially for family coverage, sharply, the study found.

Workers paid an increasing percentage of the premium and saw increases in deductibles and co-payments. Workers at small companies were hit the hardest. Average monthly contribution for family coverage was $389 at small firms, $224 at large firms.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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