NU Online News Service, Aug. 25, 2003, 4:15 p.m. EDT – Twenty-three percent of the Michigan manufacturers that participated in an informal survey earlier this year said they had reduced their workforce to offset health coverage cost increases, according to the Michigan Manufacturers Association, Lansing, Mich.

Association researchers also found that 19% of the participating manufacturers reported scaling back hiring because of health coverage cost increases.

Thirty-nine percent of the participants have responded by reducing the level of benefits coverage, and 31% have changed carriers.

The Michigan Manufacturers Association based the survey report on responses from more than 600 Michigan manufacturers. Almost all of the participating manufacturers provide health insurance for employees.

Eighty percent of the participating manufacturers said their health coverage costs are 11% to 30% higher than they were a year ago.

Seventy-five percent said they expect to see rate increases of 11% to 30% in 2004.