Employer health care costs are expected to rise 8.2% as the impact of health care reform is assessed.

The annual cost of health care for active employees is projected to rise to an average of $10,730 in 2011, according to a recent survey from consulting firm Towers Watson & Company, New York.

Not since the 1980s have leading employers spent so much time thinking about their health benefit plans as companies look to make sense of the potential impact from health care reform, Towers Watson said. Senior managers are taking a larger role in coming up with the best plan, it said.

The study of 466 large and midsize employers found 86% plan to increase efforts to encourage employees’ wellbeing. According to the survey, 57% percent said compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is their top priority.

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