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Employer News | August 27, 2013
Employer News | August 27, 2013

New National Report Shows Upstate New York has Some of the Lowest Health Care Spending in the Country

Rochester and Buffalo, long recognized for high quality health care, have emerged in a new report from the Institute of Medicine as having the lowest total Medicare health spending in the country.

The report, Variation in Health Care Spending: Target Decision Making, Not Geography, examined regional differences in health care spending, utilization and quality. The report also explored whether certain payment methods should be changed to address the regional variations.

On table G-1 at the end of the report, Rochester was ranked as having the lowest total Medicare health spending rate per beneficiary in the country among 306 regional markets; $174 per month lower than the median of the group. Buffalo had the fourth lowest costs; $166 per month lower than the median of the group. Other upstate New York regions were among the lowest 10 percent of the markets measured. Syracuse was ranked with the 19th lowest, while Binghamton and Elmira were 25th and 26th lowest.

“The IOM report confirms that consumers in upstate New York get great value for their health care dollars,” said Christopher Booth, CEO for Univera Healthcare’s parent company, Rochester-based Excellus Health Plans, Inc. “Our collaborative, community-wide approach to providing health care and our region’s reliance on non-profit health insurers and hospitals gives consumers and employers who buy health insurance the greatest value for their money.”

The IOM report on upstate New York’s lower health care costs follows a national report by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) and the Urban Institute showing that while communities such as Rochester pay less, they also maintain high quality of care.

The IOM report is also validation for having a major, locally-based, non-profit health insurer. “We have an interest in keeping health care costs low for both Medicare and our commercial customers,” Booth said. “Because we are locally based, we view that it is as equally important to have a solid health care delivery system to attract new businesses to the region as it is to have costs that are affordable.”

Editor’s Notes:

The regional rankings referenced above are in Table G-1 under the header, “Medicare Service Category Utilization (Monthly Cost Residual) By HRR”

Access the full IOM report ranking Medicare spending for the 306 regions.

Access the NCQA quality report card rating for health plans offering Medicare products. Enter a local Western New York ZIP code, and be sure to check the “Medicare” box. 

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