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Health insurance costs rise in Milwaukee area

by
Health care graphic copyright Midwest Communications, Inc.
Health care graphic copyright Midwest Communications, Inc.

UNDATED (WSAU)   Employers in southeast Wisconsin are paying 12-percent more the national average for health insurance. That’s one of the findings in a survey of Milwaukee area companies by the benefit consulting firm of Mercer. It found that employers’ total health costs rose by 4.5-percent this year. That’s the lowest increase in 15 years, but it’s still higher than the national jump of 4.1-percent.

The survey found that employers will spend $11,867 per employee on health care in 2012 – about $1,300 more than the national average.

Rob Grant of Mercer said the smaller increase in health costs is still more than twice the rate of inflation – so there’s not a lot to celebrate. He said many employers reduced their costs by offering higher-deductible health plans that give workers a larger share of the bill. Mercer found that 22-percent of Milwaukee area firms offer high-deductible plans – and the same is true for 36-percent of large firms with over 500 workers. Grant said many firms have also used wellness programs to lower their costs.

Milwaukee’s Robert W. Baird investment firm said a number of wellness efforts have paid off – including programs to quit smoking, and control high blood pressure.

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