Money

Here's how much the average American spends on health care

A patient is examined by a doctor in Miami, Florida.
Getty Images
A patient is examined by a doctor in Miami, Florida.

The House's version of the health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, was at last unveiled on Wednesday, with profound and far-reaching potential repercussions for how Americans are able to access and afford health insurance. Currently, Americans pay $3.4 trillion a year for medical care (and, unfortunately, don't get impressive results).

What the average American spends a year

According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), "the average American spent $9,596 on healthcare" in 2012, which was "up significantly from $7,700 in 2007."

It was also more than twice the per capita average of other developed nations, but still, in 2015, experts predicted continued sharp increases: "Health care spending per person is expected to surpass $10,000 in 2016 and then march steadily higher to $14,944 in 2023."

Indeed, average annual costs per person hit $10,345 in 2016. In 1960, the average cost per person was only $146 — and, adjusting for inflation, that means costs are nine times higher now than they were then.

Here's how that breaks down

According to eHealthInsurance, for unsubsidized customers in 2016, "premiums for individual coverage averaged $321 per month while premiums for family plans averaged $833 per month. The average annual deductible for individual plans was $4,358 and the average deductible for family plans was $7,983."

That means that, last year, the average family paid $9,996 for coverage alone, and, if they met their deductible, a total of just under $18,000. Meanwhile, an average individual spent $3,852 on coverage and, if she spent another $4,358 to meet her deductible, a total of $8,210.

These figures do not take into account any additional co-insurance responsibility she might have. In addition to co-pays and deductibles, an increasing number of plans now require co-insurance payments, which require that, even once you meet your deductible, you continue paying some percentage of all costs until you hit your out-of-pocket maximum.

How age factors in

Young people, who are expected to benefit from lower premiums should the GOP repeal-and-replace efforts succeed, already pay the least. But even their costs can be considerable, depending on where they live. In 2016, the financial data site ValuePenguin found that the average costs for coverage for a 21-year-old go from $180 a month in Utah, plus a $2,160 deductible (potentially $4,320 a year, total), to $426 a month in Alaska, with a $5,112 deductible (potentially $10,224 a year, total).

As a reminder, 72 percent of young millennials, aged 18-24, have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 31 percent have nothing saved at all.

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