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Employers, Employees Face Health Insurance Increases: Report

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A new report suggests that businesses that provide health insurance coverage for employees may have to deal with a 9 percent cost increase in 2010 and their workers may have to cope with an even larger increase.

The consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers said one reason for the rise in costs is because employees concerned about losing their jobs are using their health insurance while it's still available to them, the Associated Press reported. Another factor is increasing medical costs due to rising unemployment.

For its report, PWC surveyed more than 500 employers and health insurers and found that 42 percent of employers would respond to cost increases by passing some of the burden to workers through higher premiums, deductibles or co-payments.

Next year's costs won't be affected by health-care reform legislation currently being debated by lawmakers, said PWC Principal Michael Thompson. However, intense scrutiny of health-care costs may slow price increases, he suggested.

"Nobody wants to be front page news when all the lights are shining on your industry," he told the AP.

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