Family Medical Costs Surge To New High
Families' health care costs continued to rise last year, Modern Healthcare reports. "Total healthcare costs for a typical family of four increased $1,303 or 7.8% over the past year, according to the Milliman Medical Index, the highest total dollar increase in the history of the actuarial firm's annual study. Total medical spending for the average American family reached $18,074 in 2010, compared with $16,771 in 2009, according to the study, which tracks the changes in average yearly healthcare costs when a family of four is covered by an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization" (Lubell, 5/11).
Business Insurance: "The costs, which include employer and employee premium contributions, copayments and deductibles, grew an average 7.8% this year, up from 7.4% last year, Seattle-based Milliman Inc. said Tuesday." One reason may be the economy, according to a Milliman executive who said, "When employees are laid off, there are also cost ramifications for the remaining employees" (Wojcik, 5/11).
CNNMoney: The new health law may have an effect on the trend. "Under health reform, there are four major near-term changes that companies have to make to their coverage plan that will push up their share of health care costs" including "expanding dependent coverage for adult children up to age 26, removing lifetime and annual limits, eliminating co-payments and co-insurance for certain preventive services, and prohibiting any restrictions of children's coverage for preexisting conditions. A second Milliman executive said, "For many employees, these changes will increase the value of their benefits. But for many others, those who don't have adult children for instance, the changes will have little effect" (Kavilanz, 5/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.