The truth be told

Do you believe this headline?

“28k: The average price a family of 4 will spend on healthcare in 2018”

You shouldn’t. The above number is mostly insurance premiums the bulk of which are paid by employers. What a average family actually spend on healthcare in a given year is about 1% of that number.

This just demonstrates again how difficult it is to address health care costs when we don’t even use terms that accurately reflect the problem we must address.


  1. I find that number to be low. I know several people who have to buy their own health insurance and $28k is very cheap from what I have been told. For 2019, I kept extremely detail records more so than I have in the past which were only very detailed records. In 2019, my dental and medical plans cost $35,256. The company paid $29,967 and I paid the rest in premiums. I paid out of pocket a total of $5700 for co-pays and premiums which works out to be 16% for TWO PEOPLE in 2019. I was healthy in 2019 unlike in 2018 when I injured my knee and I also had no eye exams in 2019.

    Spending 1% or $280 means nobody got sick in that family of four that year and only paid $23 in monthly premiums. I was paying $64 a month 10 years ago for me and my spouse in just premiums.

    To me, the number that needs to be talked about is the actual larger number. Not all people have benefits. More and more people are losing them due to cost or less than full time hours. Healthcare is not free. Somebody has to pay.

    What I can tell from 2019 is that my lab tests were over priced by 84.6% because the lab testing and imaging companies where willing to accept 15.4 cents on the dollar. The doctors were willing to accept 83.8 cents on the dollar. However, I was unable to figure out if the drug plan paid less than the full list price due to the way the EOB states the cost. The EOB is correct that I saved money because I paid only my co-pay, but I do not know what the true list price was.

    This tells me that providers only need 83.8% and labs need only 15.4% of what they bill to stay profitable. Over the years they probably kept raising the “full list price” in order to get the amount of money at the discounted rate to get the money they need to stay in business. In other words, we will never know the true cost of healthcare.


    1. One more thing. The people without any insurance are the ones who get screwed since they paid the full “list price” and they are the ones least likely to be able to afford the costs.


  2. The number may be right or wrong as an estimate, but there is no doubt people are spending money … you are challenging this because all of it did not come out of a worker’s wallet, but, we can’t ignore the spend as it was money that went directly to medical spend, without first going into paychecks.


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