NU Online News Service, Dec. 1, 2003, 6:17 p.m. EST – Health insurance ate up 6.5% of private U.S. employers’ expenditures on labor in September, up from 6.1% in September 2002, according to new survey results from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.[@@]

The percentage of employer labor costs going toward life insurance held steady at 0.2%, and the percentage spent on disability benefits held steady at 0.3%.

The dollar value of employers’ health benefits expenditures increased to $1.48 per hour, from $1.34 hour.

Private employers’ total labor costs increased 83 cents per hour, to $22.01 per hour, and health benefits costs accounted for 17% of that increase.

At employers with 1 to 99 employees, the percentage of compensation spent on health benefits increased to 5.7%, from 5.4%.

At employers with more than 500 employees, the percentage increased to 7.1%, from 6.8%.

The BLS has posted links to employer cost survey summaries at http://www.bls.gov/schedule/archives/ecec_nr.htm