NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The average premium for employer-provided health insurance is expected to rise nearly 9 percent, according to consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

That will also mean an individual’s contribution to that premium will go up as well, CBS 2’s Don Dahler reported.

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The average worker would see an increase of 12.4 percent amounting to a total of $2,209. Out-of-pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles will rise 12.6 percent or $2,177.

Industry watchdog Arthur Levin said people shouldn’t blame Congress or the Health Care Reform bill for the increases.

“Health care inflates every year, usually higher than the rest of the Consumer Products Index — sometimes two and three times as high. So even if we hadn’t had health reform, we would see inflation in health care costs,” Levin told Dahler.

A popular way to defray some health care costs is through the use of flexible spending accounts, which are deducted from your payroll pre-tax to pay for costs that aren’t covered by insurance.

If your deductible has increased, however, it might make more sense to look at a health savings account instead.

Health savings accounts are similar to flexible spending plans in that individuals set aside pre-tax dollars to offset out-of-pocket expenses. Unlike the flexible spending plans, though, there is no “use it or lose it” stipulation. Employees can roll over the money year after year.

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The downside is people must first enroll in a high-deductible health insurance plan. Eight million Americans have chosen these kinds of plans, but advocates worry some of those people will postpone medical care rather than paying for it themselves.

To know which is best, experts suggest figuring out if you are going to the doctor often and need more coverage with lower deductibles or whether you view health insurance as simply coverage for a catastrophic injury or illness.


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