Health care costs have been on the rise for years. Greedy insurance companies, more expensive medical technology, government involvement or lack thereof—the reasons cited by the talking heads seem almost endless.

Some also point to an aging work force as a source for rising health care costs, but this one work force issue may not necessarily be the whole picture, says Kerry Anne McGeary, professor of health economics at Ball State University. Instead, McGeary believes the many chronic diseases that are affecting the work force are to blame.

"There has been some information that suggests these increases are due to the aging of our work force," McGeary says. "I am not aware of any published study that documents this relation. However, there has been some research that documents that America's work force suffers from chronic disease and, often, preventable disease. To the extent that this is true, this will increase health care costs and premiums associated with insuring this group."

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