Health Care Costs for Typical Family Double in Nine Years

A new report from Milliman, Inc., a consulting and actuarial firm, shows total health care costs are $19,393 for the typical American family of four covered by a perferred provider organization. In 2002, the same family's overall costs were $9,235. These totals include the employer and employee shares of health care costs.

The good news is that the increase in health care costs from 2010 to 2011 was 7.3%, the lowest percentage increase in over a decade. But the bad news was that the dollar increase of $1,319, was the largest dollar increase in the report's history. The press release for the study says "the total cost of care for American families constitutes a larger and larger portion of household budgets."

These increased costs are shared by employers and employees. The increase from 2010 to 2011, was shared almost equally. Employers paid $641 in higher premiums and employees paid $403 more in payroll deductions and another $275 in additional cost-sharing.

The Milliman study breaks down costs in 14 different American cities. Some exceed $20,000 while others are below $19,000.

The study tries to put health care reform into context and looks at several analyses of whether health reform is contributing to the underlying costs of care and how reform may affect the typical family of four examined in the report.