Health insurance is one of the most costly benefits for employers, accounting for 5.4 percent of total compensation costs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And health care spending could double by 2007, according to the Health Care Finance Administration.

Aging workers, new pharmaceuticals, advances in medical technology, and eroding profits of insurers and managed care companies are among the factors driving cost increases, according to information collected by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

Some other statistics gathered by AAOHN:

  • Analysts expect rates for workers’ health care premiums to rise by 7 to 11 percent for large companies, and up to 20 percent for mid-size firms, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis.

  • Health care costs have increased nearly 2.5 times faster than any other benefit cost, and more than 3 times the pace of wages and salaries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Studies have shown that workplace programs using health promotion help employees detect problems early, decrease absenteeism, reduce turnover, increase productivity, and improve morale, according to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine.