The cost of care for an average family covered by anemployer-sponsored PPO is $23,215 this year, according toMilliman's annual medical index.

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Though the amount families pay for health coverage has more thandoubled over the past decade, there is slightly better news thisyear: The 5.4 percent growth rate over last year is the lowestannual change since Milliman started keeping track in 2002.

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According to the actuarial firm, employers pay the largestportion of health care costs, contributing $13,520 per year, or 58percent of the total. The employee picks up the rest of the tab viapayroll deductions ($5,908) and out-of-pocket costs ($3,787).

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Still, consumers are increasingly picking up higher shares ofthe coverage costs.

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In each of the past four years, the index revealed, employeeshave assumed an increasing percentage of the total cost of care.The total employee cost increased by approximately 32 percent from2010 to 2014, while employer costs (premium contributions)increased by 26 percent.

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“The good news is that the annual rate of increase has beendeclining for years,” said Chris Girod, co-author of the MillimanMedical Index. “The bad news is that this represents yet another$1,100 jump in costs for this typical family. Even if we arebending the cost curve, there are few other household expenses thatincrease at four figures per year.”

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On average, pharmacy costs increased 4.5 percent over 2013.

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So far, researchers said, the Patient Protection and AffordableCare Act has had “little direct impact” on the cost of care for afamily. But that could change.

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Scott Weltz, co-author of the MMI, called PPACA the “elephantthat's about to enter the room.”

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“There are provisions in the law that may contribute eitherupward or downward pressure on employer-sponsored plans; it willtake some time before we know how health reform is affecting atypical family that receives coverage through an employer.”

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