Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Health Payments Average $4,864 for State Families

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Health Payments Average $4,864 for State Families

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON _ The average family share of health payments in Oklahoma will be $4,864 this year, according to a study released Monday by Families USA Foundation.

This was below the national average of $6,190, the study said.

Business share per family in Oklahoma will be $1,976, for a total of $6,840. This ranks Oklahoma 41st among states for average health care payments.

A typical Oklahoma family in 1980 paid $2,245 for health care, and should pay $6,840 this year (including the business share) according to the study. This is a 205 percent increase from 1980. By 2000, the figure should surge to $12,030, which would mean payments grew 436 percent between 1980 and 2000, the study said.

The study is based on federal data that indicates the health bill for the average American family this year is $7,739, $899 more than the average for Oklahoma.

The group, which is closely aligned with the White House on health reform, estimated that the nationwide bill could jump to $14,517 in the year 2000 if nothing is done to change the health care system.

The figures include what families and businesses spend directly for health care and what they spend indirectly in taxes that pay for Medicare, Medicaid and other programs.

Families pay $5,190, or two-thirds of the $7,739 average family health bill. Businesses pay the rest, $2,549. These figures cover everything: doctor bills, insurance premiums, aspirin, bandages and all other kinds of health expenditures.

Health care now consumes 13 percent of families' pre-tax income, up from 9 percent in 1980 when $2,590 per family was spent on health care.

Health expenditures per family ranged from a high of $9,352 in Massachusetts to a low of $5,941 in Idaho this year.

Also on Monday, the Democratic National Committee unveiled a videotaped sales pitch for President Clinton's health reform plan. …

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