What to do when your boss asks you to shoulder more of the burden. By Kimberly Lankford, Contributing Editor October 14, 2010 If you get your health insurance through work, expect to see a memo soon asking you to share more of the pain of rising costs. New health-care-reform initiatives, such as the requirement to offer coverage to children up to age 26, are just one factor in ever-rising medical costs that continue to push up premiums. And sagging profits from the weak economy mean health care hogs a bigger share of the budget.Large employers expect their health-care-benefit costs to rise 8.9%, on average, in 2011, compared with 7% in 2010, according to a survey by the National Business Group on Health. Part of that increase will be passed on to workers, who have already seen their share of health-insurance premiums skyrocket nearly 150% over the past decade, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Although the total price of a family policy rose just 3% in 2010, to an average of $13,770, the employee share jumped 14% -- an increase of nearly $500 -- to about $4,000, according to Kaiser. Average annual premiums for individual coverage rose 5% in 2010, to $5,049, but the employee share jumped 15%, to about $900 a year. As you choose from the health-plan menu during open-enrollment season, a few tactics will help you lessen the sting. Compare out-of-pocket costs. Nearly two-thirds of large employers intend to boost their employees' share of premium payments. They will also increase deductibles and co-payments. So if you have a choice of plans, don't compare only premiums; factor in potential out-of-pocket costs, too. Advertisement Consider a consumer-directed plan. More than 60% of employers say that they will offer a consumer-directed health plan in 2011 -- usually a high-deductible policy combined with a health savings account -- and 20% will make a consumer-directed health plan the only option. Others are steering employees toward high-deductible plans by reducing premiums and contributing money to their employees' HSAs, says Pearce Weaver, senior vice-president of Fidelity Consulting. Contributions to an HSA -- the boss's, which are tax-free, and your pay-ins, which are made with pretax dollars -- plus earnings may be used tax-free for medical expenses, even after you switch jobs or retire. You are eligible for an HSA if your policy has a deductible of $1,200 or more for single coverage ($2,400 for family coverage); you can contribute up to $3,050 for single coverage in 2011 (or $6,150 for family coverage). Grab the wellness incentives. Many employers plan to reduce or eliminate co-pays for primary care and preventive care. And they're improving the incentives for participating in wellness programs, too, with an average bonus of $386. So grab the cash, and take advantage of free preventive and primary care. Order generic drugs. Most employers are adjusting out-of-pocket costs to steer employees toward cheaper prescription-drug options. Switching from brand-name drugs to generics and filling your prescriptions through mail-order services can save you a bundle.