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Philadelphia employees have better health coverage - and it costs more

When it comes to health benefits, it's the same old Philadelphia story.

Long relationships between employers and employees coupled with loyalty to tradition - or maybe it's inertia - mean Philadelphia-area employees tend to have better, more expensive coverage than their counterparts around the nation.

"Employers [here] have a more paternalistic approach," said Jennifer Calhoun Mohl, a principal in Mercer L.L.C., a national benefits-consultancy firm that released results of a national survey Wednesday.

Nationally, the cost of health benefits rose 6.9 percent in 2010 to $9,562 per employee, the biggest increase since 2004, according to the survey of 2,836 employers.

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