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“These cost increases, while stable, are both unsustainable and unacceptable,” said Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, a coalition of very large employers that got responses from 133 companies.

Employers are changing tactics to address the cost trend, slowing the shift to worker cost sharing and instead offering video or telephone links to doctors, scrutinizing costs of specialty drugs and steering patients to hospitals with records of lower costs and better results.

Most employees at large companies should expect a 5 percent increase in their premiums next year and, in contrast to previous years, “minimal changes” to plan designs, NBGH said.

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