As health insurance premiums continue to rise, employers are strategizing how to cut costs. Here are five things your employer might do to save money on the health plan.

1. Make you pay more.

One way for the company to save money is to ask workers to pony up more toward the premium and pay higher copays. In 2012, out-of-pocket costs for workers will average $2,275 per employee, up from $2,007 in 2011 and $1,691 in 2010, according to Aon Hewitt, a global human resource consulting firm.

2. Switch to high-deductible health insurance plans

In exchange for paying a higher-than-average deductible, these plans offer lower-than-average premiums. Almost one-third of large employers, 32 percent, offered a high-deductible plan last year, up from 23 percent in 2010, says Mercer, a global human resource consulting firm.

Most of these plans are eligible for accompanying health savings accounts, which let you save pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket health care expenses. Unused money rolls over to the next year, and you keep the account, even if you change jobs.

3. Encourage you to use cost-effective health care providers

Many employer-sponsored health plans today are designed to pay more of your medical bill if you go to hospitals, labs, clinics and doctors who earn high marks for quality and cost-efficiency.

4. Reward you for taking good care of yourself

Many employers offer incentives for participating in wellness and disease management programs, and some even reward workers for achieving goals, such as losing weight or improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Rewards might include gift cards, cash or discounts on your portion of the premium.

Why? A healthier workforce means lower health care costs and higher productivity.

A smaller, but growing, number of employers are penalizing workers who don't participate in wellness programs or who maintain poor health habits, such as smoking.

5. Make your spouse pay extra

About 7 percent of large employers added a surcharge on coverage for spouses who could get health insurance through their own jobs, according to a 2011 survey by Mercer. Another 7 percent don't provide any coverage to spouses with access to health insurance through their employers.

Despite all the emphasis on cost cutting, most employers don't plan to eliminate health insurance for their employees. According to Mercer, just 9 percent of employers with 500 or more workers said they were likely to drop health insurance benefits in 2014, when the health insurance exchanges are up and running. About 20 percent of employers with 10 to 499 workers say they are likely to drop coverage that year.