The world of healthcare has been tumultuous, to say the least, in the last two years. And since we’re in the data analysis business, we thought it would be interesting to look to the data to see how health care costs have fared.
If you’ve been a longtime reader of our blog, you might recall that we’ve analyzed health care spend before. In 2019, we shared the top 12 metropolitan and top 12 micropolitan areas in the United States with the highest health care costs for the year 2018 (read up here).
Our goal at the time was to understand for our health care clients what markets around the country are spending the most on health care. That’s certainly relevant to know if you’re an urgent care chain or a group of physician’s offices looking for the next best place to open a new location.
Three Years Later...
Three years later, things have changed significantly. COVID-19 racked up quite the tab in 2020 and 2021. The cost of healthcare associated with COVID-19 was significant. The federal government spent billions to research, develop, manufacture, produce and buy vaccines. And the federal government committed $1.9 trillion to pandemic stimulus and recovery through the American Rescue Plan Act. (Read more in this MSN article.)
At the individual level, many Americans spent more on healthcare in 2021 due to COVID-19—and the cost of healthcare overall is up. And if you’re in the business of building medical clinicals or hospitals, this matters for you. A lot!
So, let’s take a look at who’s spending what (and compare that to our last health care costs study). Here are the top 12 metropolitan and top 12 micropolitan areas with the highest health care costs in the U.S., annualized for 2020:
Metropolitan Areas with Highest Health Care Spend
#12: Yuba City, CA | $562.3 million healthcare costs | $3,063 per capita
#11: Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA | $7,444.8 billion | $3,082 per capita
#10: Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA | $863.6 million | $3,233 per capita
#9: New York, et al, NY, NJ, PA | $65,658.0 billion | $3,264 per capita
#8: Anchorage, AK | $1,376.9 billion | $3,271 per capita
#7: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT | $3,163.4 billion | $3,290 per capita
#6: Vallejo-Fairfield, CA | $1,468.2 billion | $3,302 per capita
#5: Fairbanks, AK | $352.9 million | $3,326 per capita
#4: San Jose, Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA | $6,709.0 billion | $3,342 per capita
#3: Napa, CA | $476.3 million | $3,422 per capita
#2: San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA | $16.156 billion | $3,437 per capita
#1: Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA | $1.737.6 billion | $3,550 per capita
A glance at the 2018 list shows that while the 12 metro areas with highest health care costs is largely the same (no new metros and only a few swapping places), the cost has increased significantly.
In the #1 metro, the increase is 21.6% between 2018 and 2021.
Micropolitan Areas with Highest Health Care Spend
#12: Los Alamos, NM | $49.4 million healthcare costs | $2,661 per capita
#11: Aberdeen, WA | $217.6 million healthcare costs | $2,665 per capita
#10: Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna, CA | $384.6 million healthcare costs | $2,684 per capita
#9: Shelton, WA| $184.3 million healthcare costs | $2,756 per capita
#8: Port Angeles, WA| $228.9 million healthcare costs | $2,781 per capita
#7: Red Bluff, CA | $191.2 million | $2,791 per capita
#6: Truckee-Grass Valley, CA | $311.2 million | $2,960 per capita
#5: Hudson, NY | $232.5 million | $3,075 per capita
#4: Ketchikan, AK | $44.4 million | $3,253 per capita
#3: Juneau, AK | $110.0 million | $3,277 per capita
#2: Ukiah, CA | $301.1 million | $3,328 per capita
#1: Clearlake, CA | $233.9 million | $3,330 per capita
Some Observations About Health Care Spend
Unlike the metro area list, the top 12 micro areas with the with highest health care costs is much different, with only two cities from the 2018 list reappearing in 2020. The cost per capita has also increased even more than that of metropolitan areas. In 2018, the #1 micropolitan area was Truckee-Grass Valley, CA, with $2,463 per capita health care costs.
Above, you can see that the #1 micropolitan area in 2020 was Clearlake, CA, with $3,330 per capita health care costs. That’s a jump of 35.2% between 2018 and 2021!
Pay Attention to the Data
Whether you’re in the health care industry or operate a chain of service businesses, you must pay attention to the data! Location analysis is a critical part of the site selection process and can help you understand more about the market you’re considering moving into and the potential there for sales.
If you want to see for yourself how SiteSeer can help you grow smarter, contact us for a demo!
Note: The data presented in this blog post is provided by STI: Spending Patterns (a dataset from Synergos Technologies, Inc.) It includes consumer health care spending (out of pocket), not total health care spending. The source of STI: Spending Patterns data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It is based on the annual Consumer Expenditure Survey, which measures the spending habits of U.S. consumers. Every quarter, Synergos Technologies models this raw data and delivers a weekly per capita, an average spending per capita per week, and a consumer price potential by spending category. Learn more about this dataset https://synergos-tech.com/spending-patterns/.