A survey of 700 employers offers more bad news when it comes to the ever-rising costs of health care. It turns out they're paying more for insurance than their counterparts in other states, according to the Lockton Benefit Group's 10th annual survey of businesses that provide insurance. The findings aren't scientific, but they provide a snapshot of companies grappling with an average increase of 14.4 percent in increased costs for 2011. That's the highest percentage jump in the country over the past five years and significantly higher than what's reported nationally. "To mitigate this, more than 73 percent of employers plan to pass some portion of the rate increase on to their employees through plan design changes and premium share increases," Lockton writes in a news release.
Bill Lindsay, Lockton's president, tells The Denver Post the rate of increase is disturbing because it could make businesses less competitive. Yet as health-insurance costs soar, so do profits. U.S. health-insurance companies bagged combined profits of $12.2 billion in 2009, a 56 percent increase from the prior year.