The rising cost of health care is a top concern for employees, and some say it's affecting their retirement savings, finds new research from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Eight out of 10 employees surveyed say they've experienced an increase in health care costs over the past two years, and more than half of those (56%) say they're saving less for retirement as a result. Seventy-six percent, meanwhile, say their company now offers a health savings account, among which 38% participate. HSA participation increases to 50% among preretirees - those within five years of retirement.

Nearly half (47%) of the respondents who participate in an HSA or flexible spending account began doing so or increased their level of participation in the accounts as a result of rising health care costs.

According to consulting firm Devenir, nationwide assets in HSAs grew to an estimated $15.5 billion at the end of 2012 and are projected to reach $26 billion by 2015.

Other survey findings include:

* 66% of employees say their focus on retirement goals has increased over the past five years. However, 85% feel they're not saving enough, and 60% say it will be very difficult to ever save enough to support their standard of living during retirement.

* 78% see themselves working into their late 60s or 70s, up from 72% one year ago.

*71% believe their workplace retirement savings plan will be their largest or second-largest source of retirement income, followed by Social Security (43%) and other savings and investments (38%).

* 34% of workers feel their employer provides sufficient advice to help employees with the transition to retirement.

* 66% of employees contribute 5% or more of their salary to a 401(k) plan.

The Workplace Benefits Report is based on a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 employees from companies of all sizes.

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