These 5 states have the lowest healthcare costs in the US
Health care has been the top priority for many people since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic over two years ago. It’s something we all hope we don’t need to do too often – both because we want to stay healthy and because we don’t want to deal with the huge bills that come with even the simplest of visits.
But the price you pay depends on more than just the care you need. The place of residence also plays a role. Here are the five states with the lowest average health care costs in the US
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The five states with the lowest average health care costs
According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, these five states are paying the least for health care, on average, as of the second quarter of 2022:
- Kentucky (20.9% cheaper than national average)
- Arkansas (18.8% cheaper)
- Maryland (11.9% cheaper)
- Alabama (10.4% cheaper)
- Tennessee (10.1% cheaper)
Although not technically a state, Puerto Rico also deserves a mention here. It has the cheapest health care costs in the US, with average prices about 27.3% below the national average.
These numbers might sound pretty good to you, especially if you live in one of the states listed above. But cost is only part of the story when it comes to healthcare. Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure you get quality care when you need it.
And if we evaluate the states in this way, the story looks very different. Of the five states listed above, only Maryland performs well (ranked 6th overall) for access and quality of healthcare, according to US News and World Report. All others are ranked 40 or below in terms of quality.
However, it is important to remember that all of the above numbers are averages for an entire state and do not reflect the cost or quality of any individual provider or hospital. In each state, quality is likely to vary from hospital to hospital, so it’s largely up to you to do the research necessary to find quality care at an affordable price.
Here’s how to find good health care at a reasonable price
For most of us, our health options are limited by our region. Most of us won’t drive hundreds of miles to get treatment unless we have a very specific need. However, if you live in an area where there are several hospitals, you may have a choice as to where to seek medical attention. Research the hospitals in your area and view rankings to see which one offers the best care.
If you have private health insurance, you should research the policies available to you every year to see if you can find better coverage than what you currently have. Don’t just focus on the lowest premiums. Make sure the policy you choose covers all the tests and procedures you think you and your family might need. Otherwise, you may have to empty your bank account to pay for care that your policy doesn’t cover.
Be aware of your health insurance provider network and avoid visiting providers outside of the network unless it is an emergency. Using doctors outside of your insurance provider’s network can add significantly to your bills.
And most importantly, do your best to stay healthy. Eat right, try to get about eight hours of sleep each night, and make time for regular exercise. You can also take advantage of free preventive medical check-ups from your health insurance company to identify possible problems at an early stage. Doing these things will result in tremendous rewards, both physical and financial.
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