Employer-based health insurance costs increases 11.2%

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The cost to employers of providing health insurance for workers rose 11.2% this year, according to a new Kaiser report.

The share of companies of all sizes offering health benefits to their employees has declined to 61%, from 65% in 2001, according to the report. An estimated five million fewer workers have access to employer health care coverage.

Health care insurance premiums are rising faster than the cost of healthcare, the report says, causing concern from providers and employees alike.

Although the rate of increase slowed from the record 13.9% in 2003, the first turn down since 1996, the increase was more than five times the national 2.2% increase in wages between spring 2003 and spring 2004, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The annual survey was conducted with 3,000 companies between January and May.