The 8 States with the Highest Healthcare Costs

March 18, 2016
Jared Kaltwasser

Healthcare can be a major expense for anyone, but especially for retirees and older Americans. However, the costs for common procedures can vary widely from location to location. A recent study found healthcare to be most expensive in these eight states.

It’s no secret that the cost of healthcare can vary widely depending on a number of factors—whether a patient is insured, what kind of agreement a provider has with an insurer, and the location where the care is being provided.

The importance of the latter factor has become clear in recent years as the government and insurers have put more emphasis on value and cost effectiveness in healthcare. Part of the reason to publicize those costs is to help consumers understand how the healthcare choices they make can impact their own healthcare costs and the cost of the US healthcare system as a whole.

The website BetterDoctor has been shedding light on procedure costs by creating procedure-specific costs pages. For instance, the website shows that a breast biopsy costs $1,062 on average in the US. However, the prices charged by providers vary from $205 to $10,500.

Earlier this year, the website took things a step further, taking the charges for four common procedures and conditions and using them to find out which states have the highest healthcare costs on average. Though the ranking is based on just four conditions—diabetes care, bronchitis and asthma care, pacemaker implant procedures, and seizure costs—the site found states tend to have either high or low costs across the board. For instance, states with high diabetes care costs tended to also have high costs for pacemaker procedures.

What follows is their ranking of the eight highest-costs states. Included in each capsule are the average charges for inpatient diabetes care and pacemaker installations. Also listed is each state’s healthcare “cost index,” a statistic calculated based on a number of procedure costs. The highest-cost state has an index of 100.0. The data comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. A broader mix of data and the costs for bronchitis and asthma and seizure care are available at BetterDoctor’s website.

8. Arizona

Healthcare Cost Index: 43.20

Diabetes Charge: $24,575.32

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $76,826.35

Healthcare Cost Index: 47.53

Diabetes Charge: $25,363.16

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $80,642.13

Healthcare Cost Index: 49.23

Diabetes Charge: $26,749.51

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $78,550.42

Healthcare Cost Index: 50.28

Diabetes Charge: $23,153.73

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $95,195.16

Healthcare Cost Index: 50.40

Diabetes Charge: $28,196.70

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $81,772.60

Healthcare Cost Index: 80.37

Diabetes Charge: $39,658.74

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $108,505.91

Healthcare Cost Index: 88.45

Diabetes Charge: $39,283.46

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $108,994.96

Healthcare Cost Index: 100.00

Diabetes Charge: $48,225.14

Pacemaker Installation Charge: $109,387.65

Read BetterDoctor’s complete rankings here.