NORTH TEXAS (CBS.DFW.COM) – The political noise from the landmark ruling on President Barack Obama’s healthcare bill is causing some people to notice for the first time what they actually spend to stay healthy.
In May, insurance consulting firm Milliman found the average healthcare cost for a family of four topped $20,000 for the first time. The number seemed impossible to people like Leah and Robert Knight. The newly married couple, in their 20’s, were under the assumption they spent no more than a couple hundred dollars a year.
“On every pay day my paystub for medical insurance always says zero, Because my employer pays for it,” Leah said.
The index though includes those employer costs, co-pays and other premium costs that are sometimes forgotten by employees, especially when they rarely use their insurance.
“Its kind of unknown,” Robert said. “Because the company pays for it.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid reports $2.6 trillion is spent on healthcare in the U.S. each year. It’s enough for $8,400 per person, and amounts to more than 17-percent of the U.S. economy.
Baylor Health Care CEO Joel Allison says as costs continue to rise, which the CMS estimates it will, people are going to start to become more sensitive to what services and procedures cost.
“What we all understand is we cannot continue on this trajectory of the high cost of healthcare,” he said. “We have got to bend that cost curve.”
Allison said there is enough money in the system to cover everyone, if patients are managed in the correct setting. Once aware of the costs, some people though question the value of being part of the system at all.
“There’s not a desperate need for people in their 20’s to have bundles and bundles of health coverage,” Robert said.