NEW YORK -- The nation's employers are struggling with close to double-digit increases in health care costs in 2006, and consequently will be shifting more of that burden to their employees, according to a new survey of more than 1,800 firms.
"Employees are bearing more of the costs because double-digit increases are unsustainable," said Blaine Bos, a Minneapolis-based health care consultant for Mercer.
To keep a lid on costs, Bos said many employers are using a tactic called cost shifting, which demands employees to pay higher deductibles, premiums and co-payment fees. Employers are also limiting workers' choice of insurance plans.
"We used to think of cost-shifting as something you could do only every so often," said Bos. "But we're seeing a new willingness on the part of employers -- born of desperation -- to shift cost in successive years to achieve acceptable cost increases."
But it's no problem -- you can pay the premiums with the money you're saving thanks to the lower capital gains tax.