State ranks well in health care access, costs, low in outcomes: Study

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The coronavirus outbreak has made Kentuckians think long and hard about a lot of things, including their health care coverage, access and costs.

More than anything, Americans need affordable, quality health care more than ever this year and state health care systems have been strained trying to meet the extraordinary demands caused by caring for and quarantining those who contract the virus while making sure not to neglect the regular health care needs of their residents.

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In addition, the pandemic has already disrupted medical care in so many ways, from postponing elective surgeries to moving many doctor visits entirely online.

Even without any extra costs that might arise from the coronavirus pandemic, the average American spends more than $11,000 per year on personal health care, according to the most recent estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In addition, while health care in the U.S. is expensive, higher medical costs don’t necessarily translate to better results.

According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. lags behind several other wealthy nations on several measures, such as health coverage, life expectancy and disease burden, which measures longevity and quality of life.

However, the U.S. has improved in giving more healthcare access for people in worse health, and healthcare cost growth has slowed somewhat.

Conditions aren’t uniform across the U.S., though.

To determine where Americans receive the best and worst health care, the online personal finance website WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 44 measures of cost, accessibility and outcome, insurance premiums to access to doctors to how many people actually visit the doctor regularly to cancer and mortality rates.

Kentucky and surrounding states all rank close to each other overall with some doing better in some categories than others.

Overall, the state ranks 27th in the Wallethub analysis, doing best at 9th in cost and 6th in access but lagging behind at 44th in outcomes.

Ohio and Illinois are 24th and 25th overall, respectively, while Indiana is 30th.

Virginia is best at 20th  with Missouri 35th, West Virginia 39th, and Tennessee 45th.

Best States for Health Care Worst States for Health Care
1. Massachusetts            42. Alaska
2. Minnesota                43. Texas
3. Rhode Island             44. South Carolina
4. District of Columbia     45. Tennessee
5. North Dakota             46. Arkansas
6. Vermont                  47. Mississippi
7. Colorado                 48. North Carolina
8. Iowa                     49. Alabama
9. Hawaii                   50. Louisiana
10. South Dakota            51. Georgia

Best vs. Worst

*     Massachusetts has the lowest average monthly health-insurance premium, $398, which is 2.6 times lower than in Vermont, the highest at $1,034.

*     California has the highest retention rate for medical residents, 70.60 percent, which is 4.5 times higher than in the District of Columbia, the lowest at 15.70 percent.

*     New Hampshire has the lowest number of infant mortalities (per 1,000 live births), four, which is two times lower than in Mississippi, the highest at eight.

*     West Virginia has the lowest share of at-risk adults without a routine doctor visit in the past two years, 8.80 percent, which is 1.6 times lower than in California, the highest at 14.50 percent.

To view the full report and state or the District’s rank, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-best-health-care/23457/