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Why Colorado’s health costs are so high, according to a new study

Study: Health care costs in Colorado are 17 percent above average

John Ingold
The Denver Post

Coloradans pay significantly more for health care than people in four other states that were analyzed as part of a new study, and the reason shows how difficult it will be to lower costs here.

Overall, when compared to other states in the study, health care costs in Colorado are 17 percent above average — the biggest outlier, higher or lower, in the study.

The new report looks at the prices of particular health services, such as hospital stays or outpatient procedures. But it also examines how much people in the states use those services. Both factors have the potential to drive up spending but in different ways.

When analyzing spending in Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Utah, the researchers found that higher or lower amounts were usually driven by one factor. Maryland’s lower-than-average spending was driven by lower-than-average prices, for instance. Minnesota’s higher-than-average spending was the result mostly of people using health care services more frequently. And, in Oregon, higher prices were entirely canceled out by lower use.

But in Colorado, health care spending was a double-whammy. Not only were the prices for health care here more expensive but the use of health care services was also well above the group’s average, according to the study.

Read the full story online from The Denver Post


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