Employer premiums on health care plans rose higher thisyear than they have in the past five years – but employers areresponding by continuing to pass the costs onto workers and also reducing theirprescription drug coverage, according to the2017 UnitedBenefit Advisors Health Plan Survey.

Premium renewal rates for employer-sponsored health insurancerose an average of 6.6 percent -- a significant increase from thefive-year average increase of 5.6 percent, according to responsesfrom 20,099 health plans and 11,221 employers.

On the high end, Connecticut saw a record 24 percent increase inpremiums in 2017, up to $655 from $530 in 2016; and New York saw alarge increase of 14 percent, up to $712 from $624. However, somestates saw decreases in premiums, such as Arizona and Washington,which saw 2 percent and 10 percent decreases, respectively.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.