Employers Expect Health Costs To Go Up, Ready Compliance With Health Law A new survey of employer health benefits by the National Business Group on Health has found businesses expect their health care costs to jump 7 percent next year as they comply with new parts of the federal health care reform law. Employers also expect to increase workers’ share of health care costs 5 percent, the study found.Politico Pro: Survey: Employers Ditching Annual LimitsDozens of the nation’s largest employers are making moves to comply with the Affordable Care Act by eliminating annual benefit limits in health plans, according to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health. Half of the 82 large companies surveyed said they had eliminated annual benefit limits in their offerings for the 2013 plan year, although a third said they hadn’t made changes to their limits yet. The most likely benefits to be limited, according to the survey, are services for mental health, substance abuse and rehabilitation. Most businesses reported that they wouldn’t have any health plans that fall short of the law’s requirements but would be eligible to be grandfathered (Cheney, 8/6).The Hill: Businesses Predict 7 Percent Jump In Health Care CostsBusinesses expect their health care costs to grow by about 7 percent next year — a bigger jump than they’ve seen in the past three years — according to a new survey. The National Business Group on Health, which conducted the survey, did not directly attribute the expected jump to President Obama’s health care law, though it noted that employers are changing their health plans to comply with the new law. Sixty percent of employers surveyed said they plan to shift more health care costs to employees, but most said their workers’ costs would rise by less than 5 percent next year. Companies are also trying to cut costs by beefing up programs that reward workers for healthy behavior (Baker, 8/6).CQ HealthBeat: Big Employers Eye Wider Use Of Wellness Bonuses, Reference Pricing To Control CostsA health benefits survey of some of the nation’s largest corporations released Monday in a sense is just more of the same — costs will rise, employees will pay more. But it does show some interesting new wrinkles when it comes to cost containment. For example, it says that a number of employers plan to sharply increase the amount of money they pay employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle or participate in a program that promotes good health. And the survey by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) also shows growth in the use of “reference pricing,” said Helen Darling, the president of the business group, referring to a system under which employers pay a certain amount for a particular health service and employees who want to see a doctor or get a procedure that costs more than the reference point must pay the difference out of their pockets (Reichard, 8/6).Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Survey: Employers Expect 7 Percent Growth Cost Of Health BenefitsAs employers brace to absorb cost increases in employee health benefits, many are also experimenting with new ways to control these expenses, according to a new survey from the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of 342 large employers (Fleming, 8/6). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.