Higher health care costs and less affordable health insurance¬† nearly offset the average U.S. family’s income gains between 1999 and 2009, according to a RAND study in Santa Monica published on Thursday in Health Affairs, MedPage Today reports.

The study found that the median income for an average four-member family increased from $76,000 in 1999 to $99,000 in 2009, which should have meant that families had at least $545 more to spend each month in 2009 than in 1999 . But, increases in insurance premiums, out-of-pocket health costs and taxes for health care offset the additional monthly income down to $95, RAND researchers said.

Over the 10-year period, the researchers found that premiums had increased from $490 to $1,115 per month and out-of-pocket spending had jumped from $135 to $235 per month, which the researchers said was linked to employers shifting more health care costs to their employees¬†. At the same time, annual overall health care spending had nearly doubled, from $1.3 trillion in 1999 to $2.5 trillion in 2009.Study co-author David Auerbach noted, “Accelerating health care costs are a primary reason that so many American families feel like they are just treading water financially.”

It is even more critical to use the expertise of a health agent to try to find an affordable health insurance in Santa Monica, which will meet the needs of your family and business, but also keeps your budget in mind.