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Employer-provided family coverage to increase 5.4% in 2014: Report


The cost of family health care coverage provided by an employer will increase by 5.4% in 2014, the slowest rate of growth in more than a decade, according to a new report released Wednesday by Milliman Inc.

The Seattle-based actuarial firm's annual “Milliman Medical Index” report projects coverage for a typical family of four under an employer-sponsored preferred provider plan will cost a total of $23,215 on average, an increase of $1,185 over the average total cost of coverage in 2013.

The year-over-year growth in health care costs from 2013 to 2014 is the lowest since 2002, the year Milliman began tracking the annual rate of cost increases for employer-sponsored health insurance plans.

“The good news is that the annual rate of increase has been declining for years,” Chris Girod, a San Diego-based consulting actuary and co-author of the report, said in a statement. “The bad news is that this represents yet another $1,100 jump in costs for this typical family. Even if we are bending the cost curve, there are few other household expenses that increase at four figures per year.”

Milliman's report also examined the extent to which employers have shifted a greater portion of the total coverage costs onto employees during the last few years. From 2010 to 2014, employees' share of total health care costs rose from 40.6% to 41.8% on average, the report said.