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Health Care Costs for Typical American Family Hit Record High

Michael Rainey

The annual cost of health care for a typical American family – two parents and two children covered by an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization -- is $28,166 this year, according to the 2018 Milliman Medical Index released Tuesday.

Health care costs have risen every year since Milliman began tracking them in 2001, but the rate of increase has fallen in recent years. Even so, the relatively small increase of 4.5 percent in 2018 translates into a price hike of more than $1,200 a year.

"On the one hand it's heartening to see the rate of healthcare cost increase remain low,” said Chris Girod, one of the report’s authors. “On the other hand, we're still talking about more than $28,000 in total healthcare costs for the typical American family."

Prescription drugs costs are still rising, although the 6 percent increase in 2018 is the smallest in the past three years and well below the double-digit price hikes seen a decade ago.

The increased costs are not shared evenly between employees and employers, and the larger increase for employees in 2018 is part of an ongoing trend: “Over the long-term, we have seen employees footing an increasingly higher percentage of that total,” the report said. “That trend continues in 2018, with employee expenses increasing by 5.9% while employer expenses increased by only 3.5%.”

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