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Families in the U.S. could be spending up to 45% of their household income on healthcare costs within the next two decades, according to a new study from the Pioneer Institute of Boston. The best-case scenario, according to the report, would be that health-insurance premiums rise by 4% annually, along with the same rate of increase for out-of-pocket costs. By 2035, those expenses would consume nearly a quarter of the family’s budget, up from 16% in 2014. The worst-case scenario assumes premiums will grow at double the annual rate used in the best-case projection, and out-of-pocket costs going up by 6%. The typical American family would then be forking over about 45% of its income to healthcare expenses, limiting its ability to pay for other needs such as housing, food, and fuel, according to Matt Blackbourn, author of the study. As costs inch skyward, patients are likely to become highly motivated to get the most bang for each buck, comparing costs for primary care, urgent care, and the hospital side-by-side. The bottom line: It’s time for urgent care to further cement its place as a destination for cash-strapped patients who need immediate care.

Can Urgent Care Help Abate Astronomical Spike in Health Costs?