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The cost of company-provided health care will increase 5.3% in 2012, to $11,507 per employee, according to an estimate by global professional services company Towers Watson, which projects that the employer will shoulder $8,911 of that cost. 

The projected 5.3% increase in healthcare costs next year is down from the estimated increase of 5.9% this year. But Towers Watson’s survey of 400 midsize companies shows that employers are also concerned about incurring the healthcare reform excise tax on high-cost health plans when it kicks in 2018, and 83% plan to cut costs to avoid that. Changing plan options in 2014 or 2015 is being considered by 42% of the companies, while 31% are considering reducing subsidies for the coverage of spouses and dependents.

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