Wide variation in health care prices by state

May 2, 2016

A new report finds that health care prices are higher across most of the CSG-ERC region than the rest of the United States. Only New York’s and Maryland’s prices were below the national average.

The report by the Health Care Cost Institute averaged prices for common treatments across and within 41 states and the District of Columbia. Prices between states varied by more than double, but within states prices sometimes varied threefold. Alaska had the highest average prices in the nation; Florida’s prices averaged the lowest. In the ERC region, prices for care in New Hampshire were highest, and Maryland the lowest. Information was not available from nine states, including Vermont.

The report found that prices vary for some services more than others; prices for imaging, radiology and lab test prices varied the most. The authors argue that some variation in prices reflects differences in labor and other costs, much variation is driven by market forces such as a lack of price transparency, competitive pressures, or the availability of alternatives.

State Rank Average price for 162 common services, relative to U.S. average
NH 4 1.65
ME 9 1.30
MA 9 1.30
PA 13 1.21
CT 14 1.18
DE 19 1.15
NJ 22 1.07
RI 26 1.02
NY 34 0.96
MD 40 0.88
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