Many companies are making changes to their health plans for the coming year to contain costs, even though doing so may mean the plans lose grandfathered status under the new law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Healthcare costs are expected to increase 8.9% in 2011, according to a survey of big corporates by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), outpacing the increases of 6% to 7% seen in recent years. Helen Darling, the group's president, estimates that one percentage point of that increase will reflect changes mandated under healthcare reform.

In response, the survey shows 63% of the employers are increasing the percentage of the premium paid by workers, 46% are boosting employees' out-of-pocket maximums and 44% are increasing in-network deductibles. And 61% will offer a consumer-directed health plan.

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