Businesses target healthcare cost

Aug. 18, 2011 at 4:47 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A non-profit business association said a June survey indicated U.S. businesses will take more action to curtail healthcare costs in 2012.

The National Business Group on Health, which represents 329 large businesses, said healthcare costs are expected to rise 7.2 percent in 2012, more than twice the rate of inflation. Healthcare costs rose 7.4 percent this year.

The rising cost "sharply outpaces the economy's anemic growth and business conditions," the group said in a statement.

A survey of employers found 53 percent of respondents indicated they planned to increase employee contributions to healthcare benefits next year.

Thirty-nine percent indicated they would increase in-network deductibles and 23 percent indicated they would raise out-of-network deductibles, while 22 percent indicated they would raise out-of-pocket maximums next year.

On the preventative side of the equation, 57 percent of respondents indicated employees and spouses or domestic partners would have access to weight management programs. About a third of the employees would also have a weight management program available to their children.

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