Healthcare costs for U.S. households closing in on $25,000

The cost of providing healthcare for a family of four in the United States is now approaching $25,000, according to new data from the actuarial firm Milliman.

The overall cost of providing care to a family with a PPO plan has reached $24,671, up 6.3 percent from 2014, among the lowest increases since Milliman began tracking cost trends. By comparison, costs rose 10 percent annually a decade ago. However, Milliman noted that "the annual rate of increase is still well above growth in the consumer price index for medical services."

Prescription drug costs drove most of this year's increase, spiking up 13.6 percent. Over the past decade and a half, prescription drug costs have increased an average of 9.4 percent per year.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) may work in keeping costs increases down in the long-term, a recent report by the Urban Institute concluded.

Healthcare costs are up 5 percent for employers, and 8 percent for employees over the past year, with the former covering $14,198, and the latter footing $10,473, according to the Milliman data. That represents 43 percent of the total overall cost coming from the covered party. Of that, $4,065 comes from charges delivered at the point of care. Total employee costs have increased 43 percent since 2010.

Those rising costs put greater pressure on patients, who often have to resort to borrowing to pay for their medical costs.

The costs of healthcare for a typical family of four have doubled over the past decade and have tripled since 2001, according to Milliman. And despite the relatively modest increases in recent years, the company still expects that the cost of care for a household of that size will exceed $25,000 by 2016.

To learn more:
- read the Milliman report (.pdf)

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