Health care spending growth tapers, but remains high

| Thursday, May 22, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Health care spending for a family with a common employer-sponsored health plan has more than doubled over the past decade, according to research from benefits consultant Milliman Inc.

A typical American family of four will spend an average of $9,695 on health care this year, according to actuarial projections in the 2014 Milliman Medical Index, released on Wednesday. That counts contributions toward insurance premiums, payments at doctor's offices or pharmacies and over-the-counter medicines. That compares with $4,443 spent in 2004.

The total cost of health care for the family, counting the employer's premium contribution, will reach $23,215 this year, Milliman projected. That represents an increase of 5.4 percent from 2013, which is the slowest year-over-year growth in the 14-year history of the medical index.

That rate is still well above the broader rate of inflation.

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