Health Buzz: Health Costs and Other Health Headlines

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Workers, Companies Squeezed by Rising Health Care Costs

As employers devote more company funds to the meet the rising cost of health care, wages are stagnating for their workers, the Washington Post reports this morning.

"Benefits now devour 30.2 percent of employers' compensation costs, with the remaining money going to wages, the Labor Department reported this month. That is up from 27.4 percent in 2000," according to the Post.

The employee is not protected from the soaring increase. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, average premiums for family health insurance have increased 78 percent since 2001.  

Readers, are you experiencing a steady salary yet rising health care costs? Tell us your experience in the comments section below.

And if you need ideas on controlling your out-of-pocket costs for health care, read Michelle Andrews's On Health & Money column.

More Debate Over Statins

The debate over cholesterol-lowering drugs being used to prevent heart disease is set to heat up again. The study that found Vytorin is no better than generic drugs in fighting heart disease is to be formally released this week, the Wall Street Journal reports. Vytorin was developed in a joint venture between Merck and Schering-Plough, and it brought the companies billions of dollars in sales before preliminary results of the study were released in January.

Do you take Vytorin or another statin-based drug? For more information, you can read the usnews.com special report.

Plastic Surgery Makes the Man? Maybe Not

Adam Voiland, in his On Men column, details which cosmetic therapies are on the rise among men and considers the potential side effects.

"What this really boils down to, in fact, is that noninvasive treatments (and Botox, too) are on the rise, while men's appetite for invasive cosmetic surgery is dropping off," he writes.