Cost increases for health care are perhaps finally slowing down, with employer health benefit expenditures not expected to increase in 2012 at the same explosive growth in recent years. Costs for all types of medical plans are expected to increase by 9.9% for 2012, according to a survey by Buck Consultants, the first time since 2001 that Buck's survey has projected cost increases less than 10% for any type of plan. The firm has been conducting its survey since 1999.

In a national survey of 129 insurers and administrators, Buck measured the projected average annual increase in employer-provided health care benefit costs. Insurers and administrators providing medical trends for the survey cover a total of approximately 109 million people.

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