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Premium increases hitting double digits

Rising insurance premiums are helping to push U.S. health care spending higher. According to the Health Care Financing Agency, total spending increased 5.6 percent in 1998, up from 1997's 4.7-percent rise. Various benefit-consulting firms concur that, for the first time in several years, many employers face double-digit premium increases. In addition, an International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists study found that the top concern of corporate benefit managers this year is health care costs.

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