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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fewer Washington employers cover health care

Fewer Washington employers are offering health insurance, according to the state Employment Security Department.

An annual department survey determined the share  fell 1.6 percentage points in 2009, from 56.5 percent to 54.9 percent. The drop in 2008 was almost 10 percent, which followed smaller declines in the previous three years.

The study also showed that average premiums for employees increased from $358 per month to $366 per month, in part because employers paid a smaller share of the cost.

But more companies offered retirement plans, and more paid days off.

Bert Caldwell
Bert Caldwell oversees production of the opinion pages, including writing editorials, and editing and selecting letters, columns and cartoons.