Health Care Costs May Force Employers to End Benefits - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Health Care Costs May Force Employers to End Benefits

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PASCO, Wash. - Some businesses in Washington may be forced to stop providing health care benefits to their employees as premiums skyrocket.

AARP recently surveyed over 400 businesses in Washington and found the majority of employers are seeing a 30% increase in health care costs this year.

Steve Dilley owns a small trucking company called Harms Pacific Transport off Glade road in Pasco.  He says if gas prices aren't hurting his business this year, health care costs will.  He was shocked when his broker told him his insurance premiums were going up by 32%.

"I've had a few 15% increases which is a pill that hard to swallow, but we were able to absorb it.  But I can't afford this one," said Dilley.

Until now, Dilley has always paid 100% of the health care premiums for his 34 employees.  But now he feels they will have to share part of the burden and pay part or all of the costs.  Dilley worries this will make it hard for him to compete for workers when other businesses may have better benefits.