NU Online News Service, March 4, 4:08 p.m. – The weak labor market is giving employers a chance to regain control over health insurance costs, according to Rich Ostuw, a senior health care consultant at Towers Perrin Inc., New York.

Ostuw is recommending a four-step strategy for employers that are tired of double-digit cost increases.

The strategy:

  1. Reassess all vendors. Renegotiate contracts and replace vendors when appropriate.
  2. Revise cost-sharing provisions with employees. Consider requiring greater employee contributions and copays.
  3. Add consumer-oriented features to traditional plans, or adopt new, consumer-driven plan types.
  4. Use new technology to engage employees and streamline administration.