Survey: Businesses Cite Rising Medical Costs As Top Threat

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In case you missed it in Wednesday’s paper:

The rising costs of medical care and employee benefits are among the greatest risks threatening companies small, medium and large, according to business owners and executives surveyed by The Travelers Cos.

Travelers paid Hart Research Associates to survey more than 1,166 business owners from Feb. 10 to 27 across the U.S. about their perceptions of the greatest risks to their businesses. Survey respondents included executives and entrepreneurs from companies small, mid-sized and large.

The Travelers Business Risk Index drew off responses from businesses in construction, real estate, manufacturing, health care, technology, professional services, retail, food, transportation, wholesalers, banking and financial services.

The top concerns of those businesses surveyed were, in order: medical cost inflation; increasing employee benefits costs; legal liability; broad economic uncertainty; tech and cyber security; complying with laws; and attracting and retaining new talent.

The business owners and executives were asked whether they worry about these risks, and whether they feel prepared to handle them. Of those surveyed, 67 percent said they are worried about medical cost inflation and only 9 percent said they feel prepared.

In terms of the increasing cost of employee benefits, 62 percent of executives and business owners were worried about the risk and 8 percent felt prepared.

Medical cost inflation has driven up both the cost of health insurance, which Travelers does not sell, and workers compensation coverage, which it does sell.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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