Healthcare or a new car?

The 2012 Milliman Medical Index equates the cost of healthcare for a typical American family of four with the cost of a basic mid-size sedan. Forbes picks up on this comparison:

You may not realize it, but the cost of your families’ healthcare for a single year is about the same as the cost of basic mid-size sedan. So says the 2012 Milliman Medical Index (MMI) that shows that for the first time, healthcare costs for American families exceed $20,000.

The MMI measures the total cost of healthcare for a typical family of four covered by a preferred provider plan (PPO). The 2012 MMI cost is $20,728, an increase of $1,335 or 6.9% over 2011. The rate of increase is not as high as in the past, but the total dollar  increase was still a record.

And so does the Health Populi blog. Of course the only problem with this comparison is that most typical families don’t buy a new car every year, while healthcare needs are constant. Just look at the year-to-year costs: