The Milliman Medical Index shows the average employer-sponsored health care plan for a family of four cost $23,215 this year, a 5.4 percent jump from 2013.
While this far exceeds the general rate of inflation, it is the smallest increase since Milliman -- a company that provides actuarial services and products to governments and businesses -- started publishing the index in 2002. Milliman cited the slow economic recovery and recent cost-containment efforts by medical providers.
But health care costs have still risen substantially over the past decade. The cost of the average employer-sponsored plan for a family of four has more than doubled from $11,192 in 2004.
With an aging U.S. population, health care will continue to strain the budgets of families, businesses and governments. While some improvements have been made, health care providers and Washington policymakers need to pursue further reforms to curb cost growth.