Would you pay $48 for a gallon of milk?

Like almost everything, the cost of milk has been creeping up over time. But would you pay $48 for a gallon of it? If the cost of milk increased at the same rate as health care costs, $48 is exactly what you’d be paying.

It’s no secret that medical costs are going up.

In 2011, the United States spent $2.7 trillion on health care 1, up 3.9 percent from the previous year and continuing the industry’s trend of outpacing the rate of consumer inflation. That increase is actually an improvement from the rapid climb of health care spending over the last three decades.

Yet this level of spending increases is unsustainable. Health care costs now account for nearly one-fifth of the country’s gross domestic product. 2 To put that in perspective, if the prices of everyday items had increased as rapidly as the price of health care since 1945, this is about what you’d pay:  3

Eggs, milk, oranges

Perhaps the most alarming fact about the increasing cost of health care is that, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, 30 percent of these expenses are considered wasteful – from excessive administrative costs to unnecessary procedures to fraud and everything in between.

So what’s the solution? Unfortunately, there is no “easy” button when it comes to health care. The cost of care drives the cost of coverage, but there are steps we can take together to help control costs.

Learn more about how BlueCross is working with providers on innovative cost and quality programs, and how you can help by becoming a more informed health care consumer.

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Show 3 footnotes

  1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. National Health Expenditure Projections 2011-2021.
  2. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Health Care Costs: A Primer.
  3. The Institute of Medicine. The Cost of Health Care.