As employers explore ways to contain health care costs while complying with the PPACA, many also are looking to help their workers finance the higher co-pays, deductibles and premiums that can be a result of changes to their health care benefits.

In some instances, they are choosing what's known as gap or bridge insurance. This covers some of the out-of-pocket health care costs that are increasingly difficult for employees to shoulder, including deductibles that can go as high as $10,000.

"Back in the 1990s, the cost of health care coverage was pretty manageable for most people. But starting about 1999, there's been a steady increase in health insurance premiums," said Stephen Parrish, marketing director for Crescent Medical Bridge, a Columbia, S.C., program manager for several carriers including Companion Life. "Employers have been struggling to find solutions. They can move to medical plans with higher out-of-pocket costs, and sure they save some money, but then they have some angry employees."

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