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Healthcare Costs Top $20K Per Family

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, May 16, 2012

Among the MMI findings:

  • Outpatient facility costs posted its first single digit increase, 8.6%, in four years, but for the fifth year that increase outpaced all the other MMI components.
  • Outpatient facility care costs totaled $3,699, or 18% of a family of four's annual healthcare bill. Girod explains that the level of insurer control is improving under contractual discount arrangements, but still isn't on par with inpatient controls.
  • Inpatient facility utilization or the number of inpatient days for a covered population in a year has remained unchanged for several years. However, the patients who are hospitalized tend to require more intensive and expensive services that have helped boost the cost of treatment contributing to a 7.6% increase in the average charge per day costs.
  • Physician care costs reversed a four-year trend and increased by 5%. Girod says a number of things may have contributed to this cost bump, including evidence of some pushback by physicians in their contract negotiations with health plans.
  • Hospital inpatient costs ($6,531) and physician costs ($6,647) each account for 32% of a family of four's total annual healthcare bill.
  • Pharmacy costs continued their roller coaster ride of cost increases and exceeded $3,000 for the first time. The 7.3% increase is down slightly from 2011's 8%, but a significant increase over 2010's 6%. Pharmacy costs totaled $3,056 or 15% of the family's total annual healthcare bill. Girod says that while the shift to generics has helped slowed the growth in pharmacy costs, the expense of specialty drugs will have a growing impact on this cost trend.
  • The cost of miscellaneous other services such as durable medical equipment, ambulance services and home health posted a 6.7% increase to $795.

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4 comments on "Healthcare Costs Top $20K Per Family"


Angie (5/21/2012 at 11:22 AM)
Take that *ave* cost and double it for the families of four with autoimmune disorders. I have teen with MS...the meds alone are 4K a month, then there are the yearly (or more) MRIs, lab work and office visits. Even if I wanted to leave my job I can't because I can't afford to lose the insurance. Something somewhere has to change, people can't keep up this way and we can't afford to go without insurance.

John Hermann (5/17/2012 at 2:01 PM)
A large chunk is the workmans compensation benefits being paid to insurance companys for people illegally working in the USA.. the system has been "gamed" by primary care physicians status given to chiropractors and the referrals for neuro testing,PT,pain management and needless ortho surgeries...

D A Brown (5/17/2012 at 12:56 AM)
As a family of 3 with a PPO and monthly premiums for my husband's employer-sponsored health insurance costing close to 40% of his gross income, I'm fascinated to stumble across this article. In addition to the premiums, our co-pays, co-insurance, and high deductibles are so costly we always have enough medical expenses to deduct them on our federal taxes. Add in pharmiceutical costs and outstanding medical debt of over $15k[INVALID][INVALID]what's a family to do? This certainly isn't "affordable healthcare"! And even if the premiums were lower, the other costs mentioned earlier would still drive someone to bankruptcy! How about adding this kind of scenario to the discussion?