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Friday, March 12, 2010

Large Employers React to Rising Health Care Costs

Predicting that health care costs will increase has become a lot like predicting the sunrise. Anyone who uses health care already knows that prices are rising--dramatically.

But this morning's Washington Post points out that the situation is somewhat different for those working for large corporations. These employees traditionally "have some of the most stable and comprehensive medical coverage in the nation," the Post says.

A Towers Watson survey of 507 large employers suggests that change may be coming. The vast majority of the companies surveyed said that they would make their plans more expensive next year. Just over one-fourth said they would reduce benefits. Twenty-eight percent planned to charge employees' spouses a special fee to enroll.

Fortunately, a significant number of these companies say they want to take proactive steps to curb costs. Employers are increasingly interested in offering employees financial incentives for meeting health goals, or for participating in biometric screenings.

As long as these companies promote wellness as a benefit, not a punishment, they're bound to see a powerful return on investment. Study after study has proven that wellness really does help control health care costs.

Do you work at a large corporation? How is your employer reacting to rising health costs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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