Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why Does Health Insurance Cost So Much in New England?

I guess the easy answer is because health care itself costs so much in New England.

As I travel around the country, I continue to hear that plan sponsors and insurers are all frustrated by the comparatively high health care (and insurance) costs in New England. For example, according to CMS, health care spending for Massachusetts residents exceed the national average by more than $1,500, or 33% in 2004.

So, it is no surprise that health insurance costs more in Massachusetts--a 2006 health insurance industry survey found that the cost of small employer health insurance was 26% higher in Massachusetts than in the rest of the country.

A more in-depth discussion of why health care costs are so much higher in New England has been offered by one of the leading health plans in the region--Harvard Pilgrim.

They have created a “white paper”and have made it available. It might be expected that a health plan would provide a self-serving explanation of their market but I think they have given us a lot of useful and “down the middle” information.

They have also provided a list of the most commonly used "tools" for managing health care costs and quality.

There are regional differences in our health care system but all parts of the country suffer with the same challenges to one degree or another. Wherever you live, this is a good primer on why costs are as high as they are and what plan managers are doing about it.

I recommend it.

You can find it on their website.

About a third of the way down this webpage you will see, “High Cost of Health Care White Paper.” Click on that and the PDF will download.
Avoid having to check back. Subscribe to Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review and receive an email each time we post.

Blog Archive