Annual health care costs for a typical American family of four climbs to $28,166

In 2018, the cost of health care for a typical American family of four covered by an average employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is $28,166, according to the 2018 Milliman Medical Index (MMI). This is an increase of $1,222 from 2017 to 2018. Milliman noted that for more than 10 years now, the MMI has been increasing at an average of just over $100 per month.

Despite this, the MMI’s annual rate of increase, at 4.5 percent, is nearly the lowest in 18 years-it’s just slightly higher than last year’s 4.3 percent increase.

“There are two ways of looking at this year’s MMI,” said Chris Girod, co-author of the Milliman Medical Index. “On the one hand it’s heartening to see the rate of health care cost increase remain low. On the other hand, we’re still talking about more than $28,000 in total health care costs for the typical American family.”

The survey also found that prescription drug trends are down for the third consecutive year. In 2018, prescription drug costs increased 6.0 percent. “Prescription drug costs have steadied, but this trend is volatile and hard to predict,” said Scott Weltz, co-author of the MMI. “High-cost drugs can have a big impact on trends, as we witnessed a few years ago when hepatitis C treatments hit the market. Alternatively, point-of-sale rebates could push a consumer’s costs in the other direction, particularly for people taking high-cost drugs. As the environment evolves, changes in drug prices can be deployed quite quickly.”

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