DURHAM - News 14 Carolina - Finding ways for business owners to reduce health care costs was the discussion at Thursday's healthcare panel in Durham where the CEO's of North Carolina's largest insurance companies detailed the future of the industry.

With the cost of health care on the rise, they say it is important for business owners to find ways to help reduce costs while providing their employees with the coverage they deserve.

They say education is key, and that promoting healthy living within the workplace will lead to fewer costs for health care.

“We all know that a large percentage of our health care costs are related to lifestyle, behavior, and particular weight,” said CEO Brad Wilson from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. “We need to be paying attention to that and doing what we can with all the mechanisms that exist.”

Insurance company officials say 17 percent of the national gross domestic product is consumed in health care costs. They expect that number to jump to 20 percent in about five years.