THIS HEALTH-CARE TREND SPELLS RELIEF FOR U.S. BUSINESS
Health-insurance costs for U.S. employers, which have been posting double-digit gains for years, have slowed dramatically. Benefits consultant Towers Perrin says average medical-plan costs for employees at major corporations are up only 5% to 6% this year.
Behind the slowdown are a sharp decline in health-care inflation and shifts toward higher deductibles and managed-care plans. If it lasts, the taming of health-care costs will alleviate one of business' biggest headaches.GENE KORETZ