NU Online News Service, Nov. 25, 12:13 p.m. – Michigan manufacturers are sharing more benefits costs with workers this year as well as trimming wage increases because of the weak economy and skyrocketing health insurance rates, according to the Michigan Manufacturers Association, Lansing, Mich.

An association survey found that 61% of the manufacturers surveyed now require employees to contribute to the cost of health maintenance organization coverage, up from 58% in 2000, and two-thirds now require employees to contribute to the cost of preferred provider organization coverage, up from just over half.

More than half of the manufacturers have increased their health insurance co-payments and deductibles, the association reports.

The same manufacturers said in 2001 that they expected to increase wages an average of more than 3.5% this year, but the actual average increase has been only 2.5%, the association says.