Reference pricing — the capping of what employers will pay for certain medical procedures — is expected to grow now that the Obama administration has sanctioned this tactic, something that groups representing large employers have long advocated.

But now that employers can set caps on such procedures as hip and knee replacements, carpel tunnel surgery, colonoscopies and more, how should they integrate it into their plans?

Kaiser Health News has come up with guidelines designed to give employers the cost-containment advantages they seek while protecting employees from unwittingly making themselves liable for thousands in personal expenses because they didn't understand the rules of this new game. Here's what it came up with:

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.