Health Costs: Don't Relax Yet

Business owners aren't fretting about health-care costs the way they were last year. A recent survey conducted by Arthur Andersen's Enterprise Group found that 24% of small and midsize business owners, down from 42% in 1994, listed providing health benefits as among the most significant challenges to their future.

One reason concern is down: Premium costs aren't rising as rapidly. But don't be too complacent. Now that the pressure is off health-care reform, "you might start to see providers of care increase costs more to make up for what they see as lost ground," says Ruth J. Lee, a health-care consultant for Arthur Andersen in Chicago.