For employers and employees alike, there may be some sticker shock when it comes to January health insurance premiums. Costs are continuing to rise, while salaries are holding steady for most employees. This means that “health insurance is eating up more and more of people’s money,” says Nancy Metcalf, a health insurance expert for Consumer Report.”

For consumers making often-confusing decisions about employer-sponsored plans, factors to consider include:

  • Compare health plans on quality measures. Consumer Reports uses rankings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance to rank health plans’ quality by state, and you may want to consult its list.
  • Read the plan materials carefully, and check whether spouses and dependents are included in the plan
  • Explore what a plan’s deductible really means. Do copays and prescription costs count toward the deductible?
  • Check to see if your employer offers a wellness program or incentives for healthy behavior

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