Minnesota ranks fourth for health care

Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation for health care, according to a new study from MoneyGeek.

The personal finance technology company analyzed data to form composite scores comprising health outcomes, cost and access.

Minnesota ranks fourth overall, with a score of 91.1. Only Hawaii (99.0), Iowa (95.4) and Colorado (91.6) surpass it.

Minnesota has the eighth-best access to care. Its uninsured rate, a measure that was given full weight in rankings, is 4.9%. Only Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Vermont have lower uninsured population rates. Number of hospital beds per capita was another key factor in rankings according to access to care.

The North Star State’s outcomes are the 10th best in the country. Outcome factors included infant mortality rate, preventable death rate, diabetes mortality rate, obesity, smoking rate, life expectancy, suicide over age 12 rates, new HIV cases over age 13, and opioid-related hospital stay rate.

Preventable death rate and infant mortality rate were given full weight while life expectancy, diabetes mortality and obesity were given half weight.

Researchers analyzed how expensive health care is in Minnesota by examining how much the state spends on health care, the average costs of private health insurance and health care spending both as a percentage of state GDP and as share of GDP per resident.

They found Minnesota’s costs are only the 23rd best in the nation, even though it has the third-lowest average cost of private health insurance ($4,109).

Deloitte Center for Health Solutions Executive Director Jay Bhatt said in the report that states that want to optimize health spending for best outcomes have many strategic options.

Those include promoting competition, reducing prices through regulation and designing incentives to reduce the utilization of low-value care. They can impose spending targets and promote payment reform. Or, they can design effective care models and align spending to support them. He encouraged states to reduce the burden on clinicians and enhance support for interdisciplinary teams.

“Value-based care allows clinicians to care for patients at the top of their license with supports to manage wrap-around and drivers of health,” he said.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Special Advisor Rima Cohen said states can improve their residents’ health and close income- and race-related disparities in health in various ways, including investing in access to healthy food, affordable housing, reliable public transit, parks and other green spaces and high-quality schools.

Social and economic factors influence residents’ health just as much as access to high-quality, affordable health care does, she said. She said that as a general matter, health care and social investments should be targeted at low-income communities, which have poor health outcomes.

Eight of the 10 worst states for health care are in the South and Southeast: West Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kentucky and Missouri. Alaska ranks third, and New Mexico is seventh. Arizona and Maine tied for 10th worst.

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