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According to PwC’s Health Research Institute,
medical costs in the U.S. will increase 6.5 percent in 2016. Benefit plan changes, such as narrower provider rangers and higher deductibles, will reduce the increase to 4.5 percent, though many consumers and the companies that employ them will continue to struggle to afford healthcare services. What can you do to continue to provide the health insurance coverage your workers need without devastating your budget? The answer is to do what you can to control healthcare costs. Consider the following strategies to help you do so without drastically reducing the benefits you’re able to offer.



As of January 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has required employers to report severe work-related injuries—such as hospitalizations, amputations or eye loss—with 24 hours of the incident. During the first full year the requirement was in effect, U.S. employers reported 10,388 severe injuries. This included 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations.

The industry that reported the largest number of severe injuries was manufacturing, which accounted for 26 percent of hospitalizations and 57 percent of amputations. Employers in the construction industry reported 19 percent of the hospitalizations and 10 percent of the amputations. Transportation and warehousing had the third largest number of hospitalizations (11 percent), while retail trade and wholesale trade each accounted for 5 percent of the reported amputations. You can review a complete list of severe injuries reported by individual industry
at 
www.osha.gov/injuryreport/2015_by_industry.pdf.



A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings plan that is established by an employer for eligible employees. Employees who participate in the 401(k) plan can make contributions to their accounts with both pre- and post-tax dollars—up the annual limits set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Employers can also contribute funds to their employees’ accounts, and many will ‘match’ the deposits their employees make up to a certain amount.



In real estate, the ‘closing’ is the final step in the home buying and financing process. It generally involves legal forms (and often representatives) from the title insurance and escrow companies, your mortgage lender, your real estate agent, the seller and seller’s real estate agent, and—in some states—both parties’ attorneys. During the closing, you’ll sign various loan and real estate transfer documents as well as pay any outstanding closing costs that you haven’t rolled into your mortgage.