We’re making progress, but we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to health and health care in our state. That’s according to a new report by Wallethub on the ‘Best and Worst States for Health Care.’ Arizona is well outside the Top 10 finishing at number 32 overall.
A recent analysis that ranked all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for health care had Arizona far back in the pack.
WalletHub, a financial website that frequently compiles metrics to rank cities and states in various categories, released their 2017 Best & Worst States for Health Care, and Arizona came in at No. 32.
“We looked at health care in three different ways: cost, access and outcomes,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said.
A bit of good news for Arizona was the analysis broke down individual metrics and put Arizona No. 1 in the country for lowest average monthly insurance premium; Gonzalez said Arizonans pay around $280 per month. Arizona ranked No. 3 for lowest cancer rate.
But Arizona was 49th in fewest hospital beds per capita and 48th in percentage of children insured between age 0 and 17.
As you can see in the table below, Arizona’s ‘outcomes’ rank, which included metrics such as cancer rate, heart disease and patients being readmitted to hospitals, our state fared much better finishing 16th. However, the ‘access’ rank (Urgent-Care Centers per Capita, Share of insured adults and children, etc.), we finished neat the bottom of the rankings.
While Wallethub suggests our state has the lowest average monthly insurance premiums, a recent story in USA Today claims that ‘low cost’ may not last long.
Arizona’s health insurance premiums soared in 2017 — increasing 116%.
That huge jump is the largest of any state in the country. When Obamacare first started, Arizona had eight health insurers participating with some of the lowest premiums of any state. Now, that number has dwindled to just two — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Health Net, which was acquired by Centene (NYSE: CNC) in 2016.
The problem in Arizona is similar to those in other states. Younger, healthier individuals aren’t enrolling as much as sicker patients who cost health insurers a lot of money. As the losses mounted, health insurers pulled out of the state — with rates skyrocketing.
At the same time – a similar ranking was just released by U.S. News & World Report and Arizona finished a little higher…..though not much checking in at number 28.
Share your thoughts on these national health rankings and whether you believe they accurately present the current state of health care in Arizona. If they do, what do we need to change first to turn things around and start climbing higher in the rankings? Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!