Small relief in percentage points

This year’s Milliman Medical Index (MMI) indicates that average healthcare costs for the typical American family of four increased by 6.9% in 2012—the lowest rate of increase in the history of this study.

The Huffington Post picks up on this—and offers broader context for what this increase means to American families.

Family health care costs grew by 6.9 percent between 2011 and 2012, slower than in previous years, but Milliman suggests there’s little comfort in that.

“The rate of increase is not as high as in the past but total dollar increase was still a record,” the report says. “The dollar amount of the increase overshadows any relief consumers might derive from the slowing percentage increase.” The health care reform law enacted by President Barack Obama in 2010 “has had only a limited effect” on health care costs, the report continues.

Spending on physician services will reach $6,647 and spending on hospital stays will rise to $6,531, making them the two biggest components of a typical family’s annual health care expenses, the report says.

For a summary of MMI coverage, visit our Storify page.