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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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Snipon.com.

26 Comments

  1. I definitely feel strongly about preventative care, too, and am lucky that adding my husband on to my plan through my employer is really cheap. My husband, on the other hand, hadn´t had a physical with blood work and all in that probably 10 years! But I made him go just last month, and it turns out everything was fine. But definitely better safe than sorry!

    1. I’d rather know than wonder. It’s kind of stressful waiting for results, but I’ve seen how much better finding out problems early is over waiting until symptoms do show up.

  2. Ugh, health costs are just ridiculous! I haven’t had much of a need for my insurance til this year, and it was truly eye opening. Going forward, I am MUCH more aware of my out of pocket costs and will certainly be budgeting for down the road to offset any more surprises. I think this is something largely overlooked by most people, unfortunately.

    1. Yep, we’d be screwed if we had chronic conditions. It would be cheaper to get on the group plan at $800 a month.

  3. We pay $1,220/month to add myself and two kids to the hubbies healthcare plan. Ugh! Hate that it’s so expensive but so thankful that we have it! The price did increase when Obamacare was introduced. Last year we paid quite a bit in medical expenses and we are hoping this year will be less eventful;0)

  4. I need to start tracking healthcare expenses! Right now, we have some decent insurance through work… but we home to be FI in a few years, and right now healthcare is my biggest unknown expense! Especially having two young children, I worry about it quite a bit. Currently, I want to budget ~$10k for health/dental in the future, which would be about 20% of our expenses. My father (in his 60s) tracks his and my mom’s and they are closer to $20k/year.

    1. Wow, $20K! Are they eligible for Medicare yet or does that include insurance premiums? I think my Mom and Dad were paying something like $1500 per month in health premiums before they became eligible for Medicare.

  5. How much are your dental xrays (per your comment)? I don’t have my fee guide in front of me but 2 bitewings- the type of xray I take every 12-18 months at cleaning I think MIGHT cost $20. Dental xrays are usually pretty cheap….unless you do a Panorex xray which we reallly only do PRN and maybe costs $100 every 5-10 years.

    Spending $100-200 per person on cleanings anually is MUCH cheaper than any restorative work…money well spent 😉

    1. I feel like x-rays are around $60? I do that Panorex thing every so often too. It’s probably overkill, but what if it did find something small before it becomes a problem? My dentist is not cheap, but I really like him and he actually came in after hours once to see me when I was having a toothache. It turned out to be nothing, but he didn’t even charge me. I’ve been loyal every since. I love my hygenist too and can’t imagine having anyone else clean my teeth.

  6. Healthcare spending is actually not something we actively monitor, but we pay for everything through our HSA so we could probably figure it out easily. Our biggest healthcare expense is my son’s medication for his ADHD. It’s a painful monthly expense but it definitely helps him focus in school, so it’s worth it to us and to him.

    1. Luckily our daughter’s allergy medicine is available as a generic, but I would pay any amount if she needed something to keep her healthy or focused.

  7. I am really blessed that because of my military status its all on Uncle Sam’s dime right now, but once I retire due to the lack of good service from the VA Hospitals I am really considering researching health insurance to ensure proper care for me and my child. It is just so sad that medical insurance is so expensive in the U.S. and so many people are suffering because they cannot afford it.

    1. The VA system is a mess, but it’s exciting that vets are now able to see private doctors if they don’t live close to a VA medical center or if the wait is too long. We’ve had a few come through our office and it’s been a win win. Are you able to keep Tricare when you retire? That seems like a great insurance plan.

  8. I think we are probably in the same relative range that your family was for the year. We don’t track it religiously, though since most of our stuff came out of the HSA I could relatively easily find out the given number. We’re all relatively healthy and the only regular thing we need to buy is an allergy med for Nicole, so that helps quite a bit.

    1. Those allergy meds seem to be super common these days. I guess when I was a kid we just had runny noses all the time. I am so thankful for Singulair or the generic version I guess. It has saved us so much sleep because it cures that constant cough they get with allergies.

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