Missouri ranks among lowest in health care costs

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JEFFERSON CITY - A new report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) put Missouri among states with some of the least expensive health care. 

The study looks at state-to-state price variations for health care procedures from mammograms to heart surgery. 

The institute found there to be a huge difference between states, with some having health care costs more than double that of the national average. 

Even with Missouri having some of the lowest prices for medical care, many of the biggest perpetrators are just right next door. 

Missouri Hospital Association Media Relations VP, Dave Dillon, said there are many factors that play into the cost of health care, and that the country has had a history of wide price ranges in medicine from state-to-state, and even within states, themselves. 

"What we've seen is a lot of recognition of that problem and variation in practice surrounding it." Dillon said. 

Dillon said a big factor in Missouri's low price for health care probably has to do with it's adaptation of best practices. He also said Missouri is just a less expensive state to be able to provide health care.

"It's just less expensive to provide health care. Salaries are lower, land cost is lower," Dillon said. "We're just a lower cost state."

However, Dillon said when shopping for heath care, it is not always the lowest price that is the best. He said certain places may just be suited for better care or different places may have to charge more based on the resources they have. 

"You can't easily do apples to apples on a lot of this, there are places where it is in essence a more similar cost," Dillon said. "But even in that situation, payments that are outliers that can come in."

Dillon said through looking at the differences in prices, states can look at what others are doing right and adopt the best practices to drive health care prices down.