How Much a Healthy Family Spends on Medical Care in a Year

medical costs for a family

The cost of the health care in the United States is a hot button topic to say the least. People seem to either love/hate Obamacare depending on whether the program actually helped make insurance more affordable or added to the already substantial burden of trying to insure a family and pay medical bills. Since I am lucky enough to have a pretty healthy family and I track all of our spending religiously, I thought it might be interesting to see how much a healthy family spends on medical care in a year.

We Have Insurance

While it might be cheaper to take the penalty for not being insured, we think it’s really important to have health coverage. Fortunately, Jim has really good insurance that is paid by his employer. Unfortunately, it costs $800 a month to add a family, so the kiddo and I have a grandfathered Anthem HSA plan that costs $261 a month. Jim only has to pay a $30 copay for doctor visits and anywhere from $5 to$40 copays on prescription medicines. The Anthem plan has a $10,000 deductible, so other than covered preventative services, we pay out of pocket if my daughter or myself have medical visits or medicines.

If our plan is ever cancelled, we’ll probably  have to pay at least double in premiums on the exchange, so here’s to hoping it lasts forever!

Preventative Care Rocks

After seeing family members and lots of people we know succumb to serious medical problems over the years because they didn’t take care of themselves, we strongly believe in preventative care. All three of us get an annual physical and go to the dentist every six months. Jim and I have blood work done every year to catch anything that might be out of whack, and if our doctor says get something exiting, like a mammogram or prostate screening, that’s what we do. Not fun, but much better to take control of your health rather than let it control you. Thankfully, we have a local health fair where blood draws are really cheap and the school district does Jim’s for free.

Preventative care is  how I knew my triglycerides were too high a few years ago. Otherwise, I might have continued on in oblivion until I had a heart attack or worse. I hate paying to get my teeth cleaned, but it’s tons better than needing a root canal or crown. The only thing we don’t do regularly enough is have eye exams, but sometimes it’s really hard to find a good doctor!

Doctor Visits

Last year, we didn’t have too many doctor visits. Jim went once to have a cyst removed and for getting elbowed in the face playing basketball. (Thank goodness nothing was broken). I went to urgent care once for a really bad sinus infection and cough.

Jim and I both saw the chiropractor a few times last year. We’re not spring chickens anymore!

I’m not sure what it means when we had more doctor visits than our child, but she didn’t have to see the doctor once last year outside of her physical.

Medicines

I only have one prescription medication, and I use an over the counter eye gel for dry eyes. I have a written prescription for the eye medicine soI can use it as an HSA expense. I also had prescriptions for one antibiotic and one cough medicine. Jim has no regular medicines but does use an allergy nasal spray sometimes in the spring and fall, and our daughter takes a prescription allergy medicine if we need it.

Total for Health Care Spending Last Year

Our total last year for doctors/dentist/chiropractor was $1497.19. Over half of that was for dental care, and we didn’t even have a cavity. Let’s hope we won’t need x-rays this year!

We spent $1274.01 on medicines in 2014. Almost 2/3 was for my prescription and the eye gel I have to use. Too bad I can’t get free samples at work!

Our total health care spending for 2014 was $2771.20, which doesn’t include health insurance premiums.

Tracking Medical Spending

I guess in the whole scheme of things it could be worse. Having a health savings account allows us to take a tax break on any contributions we put into the account. It would also be lots more expensive if we had chronic health conditions or lots of illnesses or accidents.

I’ve kept track of our medical spending for the past few years, and it seems we tend to stay around the $2500 range. Tracking your spending with a site like Personal Capital makes it easy to budget and plan for expected expenses, and we keep enough in our HSA to cover our high deductible if we did have a major health problem.

I don’t like spending money on health care, but I think it’s unavoidable, especially if we want to stay on top of things. I know people who think they’re health because they haven’t been to the doctor in years, but that only means you have no idea what’s going on internally. Waiting until you notice a problem is not a good strategy for staying healthy.

Do you track health care spending? How much do you spend on medical care in a year? 

 

Image: Freedigitalphots.net/artsamui

 

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26 Comments

  1. Oh, that sure is quite interesting to know about the cost that each family spends at a medical clinic. Are some of the costs based on vaccines being given, sustaining injuries, or being hospitalized? I ask this because it’s something that my wife and I are needing to learn now that we have a daughter on the way.

    1. Vaccines and well child care should be covered if you have an ACA approved insurance plan. Our costs are for basic dental, prescriptions, and if we have to go to the doctor for an illness. We did have a few ER visits when my daughter was a baby for high fevers and once when she fell off a counter. Thankfully, that has gotten better as she’s gotten older!

  2. I think it is so great that you and your family have regular checkups! So many people do not think about preventative care or how important it is. My cliche motto is, “better safe than sorry.” I take very good care of my teeth but I try to visit the dentist at least every year to make sure everything is in good shape. Thank you for sharing your tips!

  3. I found it so interesting to see how much you spent on medical care. It goes to show how fast it can all add up. I would rather brush my teeth and floss than have to pay for a cavity. Next time I don’t feel like brushing I will think about this. Thanks for sharing.

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