The personal finance website WalletHub reports that 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. That’s a daunting statistic considering that many Americans are still out of work or making less money than usual this year.
Additionally, conditions aren’t uniform across the U.S., though. To determine where Americans receive the best and worst health care, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 44 measures of cost, accessibility and outcome. The website’s survey ranked Virginia the 16th best state in the country for health care.
WalletHub noted that 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.
To determine the best and worst states for health care, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) cost, 2) access and 3) outcomes.
The company then evaluated those dimensions using a number of relevant metrics.
The metrics used in the cost dimension were the cost of a medical visit, the average hospital expenses per inpatient day at community hospitals, the cost of a dental visit, the average monthly insurance premium, the share of high out-of-pocket medical spending, and the share of adults with no doctor’s visits due to cost.
Among the metrics used in the access dimension were the percentage of residents age 12+ initiating vaccination, the COVID-19 death rate in the past week per capita, the COVID-19 positive tests in the past week per capita, the quality of the public hospital system, the hospital beds per capita, the average response time from EMS notification to EMS arrival, the average emergency-room wait time, the time before admission, the physicians per capita, the geriatricians per population aged 65 and older, the nurse practitioners per capita, and the physician assistants per capita.
Among the metrics used by WalletHub in the outcomes dimension were the infant mortality rate, the child mortality rate, the maternal mortality rate, the share of patients readmitted to the hospital, the share of hospitalized patients discharged without instructions for home recovery, the share of hospital patients who did not receive patient-centered care, life expectancy, the cancer incidence rate, the smoke and heart disease rate, the share of adults with Type 2 diabetes, and the share of at-risk adults with no routine doctor’s visit in the past two years..
Determined by WalletHub worthy of ranking ahead of Virginia as having better health care were (1) Massachusetts (2) Rhode Island (3) Minnesota (4) Hawaii (5) Maryland (6) Vermont (7) Colorado (8) Iowa (9) Connecticut (10) South Dakota (11) New Hampshire (12) Pennsylvania (13) the District of Columbia (14) New Jersey and (15) Maine.
Determined by WalletHub worthy of rankings as having the worst health care in the country (42 through 51) were (42) Missouri (43) Nevada (44) West Virginia (45) Wyoming (46) Oklahoma (47) North Carolina (48) Mississippi (49) Arkansas (50) Louisiana and (51) Alabama.