WASHINGTON--Employers with lower health care cost increases for 2004 more often encourage workers to take responsibility for their health care decisions, according to the 9th annual National Business Group on Health/Watson Wyatt health cost study. 

These companies expect a median 7 percent increase in health care costs this year. Conversely, companies experiencing high cost increases do less to engage workers in making cost-effective health care decisions and expect a median cost increase of 17 percent. 

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