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Reports on rising health care costs are beginning to seem like a broken record. Each report (accurately) says health care costs are continuing to rise for Americans and their families. That’s why the latest data won’t be a surprise.

According to the annual Behind the Numbers report on medical costs released by PricewaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute, health care costs are expected to increase by 8.5 percent in 2012. This figure is up slightly from the 8 percent rise in 2011. Considering the total medical costs for a family of four in 2010 was in excess of $18,000, any increase can have negative ripple effects on families who are continuing to deal with the lackluster economy.

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