“Ordinary Americans” may be spending more on health care than they realize.[@@]

Researchers at Milliman Inc., Seattle, an actuarial firm, say the typical U.S. family of 4 will spend $12,214 on medical care this year, up 9.1% from the total for 2004.

Members of that typical family will have to pay $2,035 of the $12,214 in charges out of their own pockets, the Milliman researchers estimate.

The researchers who computed the new Milliman Medical Index are basing the measure on costs for a family of 4 covered by an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization plan.

The index total includes doctor bills, hospital bills and payments for prescription drugs.

Although some studies have found that increases in health insurance and health care costs slowed between 2004 and 2005, the Milliman researchers the 9.1% rate of increase that they calculated for a typical family of PPO members is down only slightly from a 4-year average of 9.8%.