Family healthcare costs doubled in 9 years

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The total cost of healthcare for a typical family of four covered by a preferred provider organization was $19,393 in 2011, an increase of 7.3 percent over 2010, which is the lowest annual rate of increase in more than a decade, according to the results of the 2011 Milliman Medical Index.

Yet even though the rate of increase is the lowest in recent memory, the increase in total dollars—$1,319 in 2011—is the highest in the history of this study, noted the Seattle-based consulting and actuarial firm.

"In 2002, American families had healthcare costs of $9,235, and those costs have now doubled in fewer than nine years," said Lorraine Mayne, Milliman principal and consulting actuary. "As costs continue to grow—and even as the cost trend decelerates—the total cost of care for American families constitutes a larger and larger portion of the household budget."

Of the $1,319 total cost increase, employers bore $641 while employees shouldered the rest—$403 in payroll contributions and $275 in additional cost sharing.

"As has been the case in four of the last five years, employees are paying a larger share of the cost increase than their employers," said Scott Weltz, consulting actuary at Milliman. "That said, in absolute dollars, both employers and employees have shouldered approximately the same amount of additional costs since 2006, with employers absorbing $3,023 and employees absorbing $2,988."

This year's Milliman Medical Index also included various analyses of how healthcare reform is (or is not) contributing to the underlying cost of care. The report also looked at how healthcare reform changes may affect the typical family of four represented in this analysis.

To view the complete Milliman Medical Index, click here.