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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Our MA's Health Insurance Premiums the Nation's Highest? Apparently Not...

Our MA's Health Insurance Premiums the Nation's Highest? Apparently Not...

December 23, 2006

Around these parts, we often assume our health insurance premiums are the highest in the nation, by a longshot. Doesn't appear to be the case. Check out this new federal data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality -- data obtained through the annual MEPS (Medical Expenditure Panel Survey) -- of 13,000 families and 32,000 persons, 2004.

Here's the "average total premiums ... for private sector establishments for areas within State: US 2004:"

Massachusetts single premiums:
Boston/Cambridge/Quincy: $4,068
Remainder of State: $4,348

Here are other parts of the country similar or higher:
Anchorage, AL: $4,608
District of Columbia: $4,218
Portland, ME: $4,121
Detroit, MI: $4,050
Nevada outside Las Vegas: $4,009
Manchester, NH: $4,292
New York/North NJ: $4,106
Oklahoma City, OK: $4,063
Providence, RI: $4,368
Columbia, SC: $4,061
Vermont outside Burlington: $4,219
Charleston, WV: $4,143
Milwaukee, WI: $4,274

Massachusetts family premiums:
Boston/Cambridge/Quincy: $10,529
Remainder of State: $10,647

Anchorage, Alaska: $10,521
Sacramento, CA: $10,569
San Francisco, CA: $10,593
Colorado, outside Denver: $10,725
Bridgeport, CT: $10,943
New Haven, CT: $11,513
Phildelphia, PA: $10,822
Orlando, FL: $10,528
Tampa, Fl: $10,793
Chicago: $10,536
New Orleans: $10,964
Portland, ME: $11,081
Minnesota outside Minneapolis: $10,662
New Hampshire, outside Manchester: $11,505
Tennessee outside Memphis/Nashville: $10,927
Burlington, VT: $10,534
Seattle/Tacoma, WA: $10,702

This is not to suggest that MA premiums are right/fair/not a problem. This just seems to indicate we're not as out of the mainstream on premium costs as we might otherwise think. Or are we missing something?