The Annual Milliman Medical Index (MMI) contains some grim tidings for health insurers and others concerned by the rising cost of health care, as for the fourth straight year costs rose by at least 7%.

The MMI found that for 2011 the average cost of health care for a family of four covered by a preferred provider plan now stands at $19,393 up from $18,074 in 2010. The 2011 tally reflects the steady rise charted in health costs over the last decade. By way of comparison, the MMI for 2002 was $9,235.

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