Average U.S. Family Will Use $12,214 in Medical Products, Services in 2005, Report Finds
The average U.S. family of four will use $12,214 worth of medical products and services in 2005, up 45% from $8,414 in 2001, according to a new report by Milliman, the Washington Times reports (Higgins, Washington Times, 5/26). The report -- the first on consumer health care costs culled from the new Milliman Medical Index -- was based on health insurance information for more than 15 million insured U.S. residents (Whitehouse, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, 5/26).
The report examined medical costs for a family with two adults and two children under age 10 who were covered by a PPO. It focused solely on costs for medical care at the point of service and did not include health insurance premiums (Washington Times, 5/26). The report also did not examine over-the-counter drug spending and the cost of medical treatments not covered by health insurance (Croghan, New York Daily News, 5/26).
The report found that the average family will pay about 17% -- or $2,035 -- of its total health care costs in 2005, with a health plan paying the remainder.
The largest single expense for families is projected to be physician visits, making up 37% of the total medical spending for 2005 at $4,528. Total spending on physician visits, which includes both checkups and specialty or surgical care, increased 8%, or $337, from 2004, according to the report, which attributed the increase in part to more frequent physician visits.
Inpatient hospital care is expected to be the second-largest expense in 2005, making up 30%, or $3,704, of total family spending. The report attributed the high cost of inpatient care in part to new technology, longer hospital stays and higher operating costs (Washington Times, 5/26).
Outpatient hospital services and prescription drugs each are projected to account for 15% and other medical services will account for 3% of the total health spending (Washington Times graphic, 5/26).
According to the New York Daily News, the report found that families pay 25.8% of the annual cost of their prescription drugs out of pocket (New York Daily News, 5/26). The report attributed the large percentage of spending on prescription drugs to higher drug prices, an increase in the number of medications on the market and more direct-to-consumer advertising.
Report co-author Bill Thompson said that ongoing increases in overall health care costs will result in employers increasingly shifting health care costs onto consumers (Washington Times, 5/26).
The report is available online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.