Study: Major gap in health care spending by Americans with job-based health insurance
In a new study of health care spending for Americans who’ve got employer-sponsored health insurance plans, two places that probably aren’t on your mental map are pinpointed as the country’s highest-spending and lowest-spending metropolitan areas.
The study, conducted by the health care business of Thomson Reuters, found that health care spending by people who have employer-sponsored health insurance was the highest in Anderson, Ind. — $7,231 per person in 2009. Ogden, Utah, was the lowest-spending metro area, at $2,623 per person. That’s a gap of about $4,600.
|The Ogden, Utah, metropolitan area has the lowest amount of health care spending for people who have employer-sponsored health insurance.|
The national average in the study: $4,104 per person. The highest-spending area, Anderson, was at 176 percent of the national average. Ogden, the lowest-spending area, was at 64 percent of the national average.
The study examined the use and cost of health care services for 23.5 million Americans in 382 metro areas.
Following Anderson on the list of highest-spending metro areas was Punta Gorda, Fla., at $7,168. Next on the list were:
• Racine, Wis. — $6,528.
• Naples, Fla. — $6,312.
• Ocean City, N.J. — $6,128.
• Barnstable Town, Mass. — $6,123.
• Flint, Mich. — $6,061.
• Lake Havasu City, Ariz. — $5,977.
• Ocala, Fla. — $5,976.
• Carson City, Nev. — $5,931.
Preceding Ogden on the list of lowest-spending metro areas was Dubuque, Iowa, at $2,719. Next on the list were:
• Fayetteville, Ark. — $2,762.
• Fort Smith, Ark. — $2,916.
• Laredo, Texas — $2,919.
• Amarillo, Texas — $2,942.
• McAllen, Texas — $2,950.
• Salt Lake City — $2,979.
• Fargo, N.D. — $2,996.
• Sioux City, Iowa — $3,029.
“Studying these geographic variations can help us identify locations where health care costs are less, yet the quality of care and outcomes are not compromised. Understanding where, why and how medical care costs less can provide solutions to control our nation’s health care spending,” Dr. Ray Fabius, one of the study’s authors, says in a news release.
Bill Marder, the lead author of the study, says: “We clearly need to do more in-depth research to better understand how these complex spending variations translate into variations in value for patients.”