Healthcare costs for U.S. employers are expected to grow by 9% in 2010, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute. The projected cost increase is slightly smaller than the 9.2% bump in 2009 and 9.9% in 2008. One reason for rising costs is American workers are hastening their use of healthcare as they anticipate losing their jobs, and, in turn, their health benefits, the report said.
"Higher medical costs are getting even greater scrutiny in this down economy, and employers are squeezing dollars out of their programs to save money," Mike Thompson, a principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a news release. "As the economy recovers, employers will refocus on more sustainable longer-term approaches to medical-cost containment based on an increasingly shared interest between employers and their workers," he added.