When it comes to healthcare costs in Tucson, we are a low-cost healthcare market compared to the rest of the country – according to a report by the Healthcare cost Institute.
You can read the report summary here: Healthy Marketplace Index
The study looked at people under 65 with employer health insurance and what their costs were for in-patient hospital stays, outpatient services, and doctor visits.
As I reviewed the numbers, I compared Tucson to New Haven, CT where my sister lives. The info in the report confirms what I have heard about Tucson as a place where healthcare costs are lower than the national average.
For in-patient hospital care, New Haven, CT is 17% higher than the national average while Tucson, is 28% lower than the national average (in 2014).
For outpatient services, New Haven is 3% higher than the national average while Tucson is 17% lower than the national average (in 2014)
For doctors’ services, New Haven is 24% higher than the national average while Tucson is 17% lower than the national average.
While the information in the report is not about Medicare, it is my guess that Tucson’s lower healthcare costs make it a good place for Medicare Advantage. That’s because Medicare Advantage plans generally pay what Medicare pays to providers. And if employer health insurance is not paying at a much higher level than Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans have a good negotiating position with hospitals and doctors.
How much longer will healthcare costs in Tucson stay below the national average when for-profit companies have come to town?
The Carondolet Health Network (St Joseph and St Mary’s hospitals) is now owned by a for-profit company. And Northwest Healthcare, a for-profit company (Northwest Medical Center and Oro Valley Hospital), is demanding higher payments from UnitedHealthcare in its contract negotiations.