Not everyone likes change, especially when it comes to health care. However, with health care's rising costs and the tough economic climate, more of those expenses are shifting to employees, says Sheryl Kovach, president and CEO of Kandor Group, a human resources consulting firm in Houston.

"Companies aren't doing as well as they once were, and one of the largest costs for employers is labor," Kovach says. "When you consider everything an employer invests in its work force, the costs now have to be allocated in different ways."

A major challenge in communicating a new cost-sharing model is helping employees understand the true costs of health care, says Mark Sherman, adviser of FirstPerson, an employee benefits firm in Indianapolis. Unlike other consumer items, health care costs are far from transparent. Employees rarely understand what employers are actually paying; thus, frustration can build when they are asked to take on a greater portion of the costs.

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