WASHINGTON (AP) - The last major piece of President Barack Obama's health care law could raise costs for thrifty consumers as well as large corporations when it takes effect in 2018.

WASHINGTON (AP) The last major piece of President Barack Obama's health care law could raise costs for thrifty consumers as well as large corporations when it takes effect in 2018.

The so-called Cadillac tax was meant to discourage extravagant coverage. But critics say it's a tax on essentials.

Studies indicate the tax will affect an increasing number of companies over time. Middle-class workers could see their benefits diminished. The tax is getting attention now because employers plan ahead for major costs.

First to go could be workplace "flexible spending accounts" that allow consumers to save by setting aside money tax-free for annual insurance deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. Those contributions could trigger the tax.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton says she would re-examine the tax because it might shift more costs to workers.