Health-Care Costs' Sickening Surge

Insurers want to boost profits while employers seek to cut expenses. So, workers can expect to pay more, sometimes for less coverage

If you think your health benefits are taking a big bite out of your paycheck, brace yourself. It's going to get worse. While just 56% of large companies charged employees more for their health plans this year, 78% say they'll likely raise rates in 2003, according to a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. That's because monthly premiums for employer-sponsored health plans rose 12.7% in 2002 -- the biggest jump since 1990 -- and experts says they'll climb 15% more in 2003.

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