Survey: Employer healthcare costs continue to rise

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The cost of employer-based health coverage rose 6.1% in 2006, according to a new employer survey. Labor is a dominant cost for nursing home operators.

Health coverage costs an average of $7,523 per employee, said Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The 2006 increase was the same as in 2005. It is down from the 14.7% increase in 2002.

Nearly a third (31%) of employers saw shifting costs to employees or scaling back benefits as key cost management strategies over the next five years.