Prescription Drug Prices, Rising Out-of-Pocket Expenses Help Push Average Family Health Care Costs to $24.6k per Year
The squeeze continues: according to a new report, the cost of health care for a typical family of 4 covered by typical employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) has more than doubled over the past 10 years, with employees experiencing a faster rate of increase than employers, thanks to higher out-of-pocket demands and rising employee payroll deductions.
The 2015 Milliman Medical Index report pegs the average cost of health care for a family of 4 at $24,671—that’s a 6.3% increase, and a noticeable uptick from 2014’s 5.4% increase, one of the lowest recorded by Milliman since it began its studies in 2001.
Milliman points to a rise in prescription drug prices as the biggest reason for the increase, a category that grew by 13.6% from 2014 to 2015. According to the report, the increase was fueled by wider use of specialty drugs—drugs that cost more than $600 per prescription—and more demand for compounded drugs. Overall, prescription drugs accounted for 16% of a family’s health care costs.