NU Online News Service, July 28, 2003, 2:34 p.m. EDT – U.S. employers aren’t the only employers in North America that are worrying about the rising cost of health benefits.

Although Canadian employers operate in a much different system, they, too, want to pass a greater share of their costs on to employees, according to results of a survey released by Morneau Sobeco, Toronto.

When the benefits consulting firm polled 332 Canadian employers through the Web earlier this month, it found that 50% of the employers said they had absorbed all or most health benefit cost increases over the past three years.

Only 33% of the employers said they intended to absorb future health benefit cost increases.

Four percent of the employers said they expected to cut benefits enough to compensate for cost increases. Most of the other employers said they would cope by making employees pay a higher share of the cost.

Larger Canadian employers reported being more aggressive about sharing costs with employees than smaller employers did.

Only 18% of the employers with more than 1,000 employees said they had absorbed all or most of the extra costs, but 27% of the smaller employers said they had absorbed all or most of the extra costs.