The rising cost of providing employee health benefits won't be rising as fast in 2015 as it did this year. And that reduction in annual increases could become a trend, at least among large U.S. employers.

Those are two significant findings from a survey from the National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of nearly 400 large U.S. employers. The survey suggests that the efforts by large employers to better control their health-care costs are working as they integrate wellness plans, cost-sharing and consumer-directed health plan elements into their design strategies. No respondent to the survey expects to discontinue offering coverage to employees in the near term.

"Our survey shows that many employers are, in fact, taking necessary steps to rein in costs. This includes partnering with workers to engage in health care decisions and educating them to be better health care consumers, as well as sharing more costs with workers and narrowing their benefit options," said Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health.

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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.