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Health insurance costs 'A runaway train'

  Big biz news out front today, and deserves to be:

- 'A runaway train' of soaring costs - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
  If you felt sticker shock when you opened up your health insurance packet from your employer, you were not alone.
  Western New York workers will see their insurance premiums rise by as much as 20 percent next year. And there's no sign of it getting better soon.
   "It's getting worse," said Gregory D. Leifer, director of life insurance and employee benefits at Scott Danahy Naylon Insurance Brokers. "It's a runaway train, and people don't see it ending." ...
  Nationwide, employers expected their health insurance costs to rise by 10.1 percent in 2011, if they made no changes to their plans, but by just 5.9 percent after adjustments, according to a survey by Mercer Health & Benefits. A similar survey by Towers Watson said plan changes would lower the expected increase to 8.2 percent.
   Locally, rates will rise by up to 20 percent for Independent Health and HealthNow and by up to 12.5 percent for Univera. Employers are growing less willing to absorb those increases, as the cost of benefits comprises more than 10 percent of payroll, according to Compdata Surveys. ...

   Related:
- ‘Obamacare’ not the cause of Colorado rate hikes - Colorado Independent
- Five strategies to tame health care spending - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Why Employers Aren't Rooting for Health Care Reform to Die - The Atlantic
- Why I will stay far away from cliffs from now on - The Huffington Post 
- Nearly 59 million lack health insurance: CDC - Reuters
- Employers plan for hikes in health insurance rates - Rochester Business Journal
- Connecticut Doctors To Oppose Anthem's Proposed Rate Increases - Hartford Courant
- Online information on health insurance rates readily available to Californians - Los Angeles Times

   Not everything's going up:
Mortgage rates again decline to record lows - AP/Buffalo News
   The mortgage rate bar is even lower, but few homebuyers are making the jump.
   Rates on fixed mortgages again fell to their lowest levels in decades this week, Freddie Mac said Thursday, after the Federal Reserve unveiled a massive bond-buying program to help spur economic growth.
   That marked more than a half-year of record lows. But housing activity has still faltered.

- Battle for shoppers' dollars pushes convenience, discounts - AP/Buffalo News
   From Sears stores open on Thanksgiving for the first time to free shipping from Wal-Mart, the battle for holiday shoppers' dollars has begun in earnest. ...
   Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that typically kicks off holiday shopping, is not only being marketed as "Black Friday week," but for a growing number of stores, "Black Friday month."

- Retailers offering early discounts, so late shoppers could lose out - AP/Buffalo News

   Speaking of "sticker shock":

 

- George Pyle/The Buffalo News 

tagged

Consumer protection | Current Affairs | Health Care | Labor agreements | The Economy
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