Posted in: Benefits, Health care, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News and Views
Now that some of the smoke has cleared from the debate over national health coverage, we can take a look at where costs have been going: up.
That’s the assessment of the 2011 Milliman Medical Index put out by the Milliman benefits consulting firm.
Some of the details from the index:
- In the last year, health costs rose by 7.3%, compared with a 1.5% rise in the Consumer Price Index.
- That translates to an average increase of $1,319 for a family of four — the biggest dollar jump in at least 50 years.
- On average, the increase was covered equally by employees and employers, each paying about $660.
- Over the last eight years, the total cost to American families for their health care has more than doubled to $19,393 from $9,235.
- What aspect of health coverage has gone up the most? The costs of outpatient care are outpacing others. The culprit seems twofold: (1) More types of treatment are being conducted in outpatient settings. (2) Outpatient facilities more often use new and expensive testing and treatment procedures. The combined costs of hospital outpatient and in-patient care account for 60% of the increases.
- No surprise, your costs depend on where you live. For example, workers in Miami, New York City or Chicago pay higher-than-average prices for health care. Phoenix, Atlanta and Seattle have lower than average costs.
And the report maintains that federal healthcare reform isn’t the primary driver of increased costs — at least not yet. The report states, in part, “Healthcare costs are determined by the quantity of services provided at a given cost. Ultimately it is the change in the underlying cost of care that matters.”