SUMMARY: Massachusetts was first in the nation to expand insurance coverage under the “Romneycare” legislation from 2006. But spending is up: residents use more services, and they cost more. Policy wonks follow carefully what happened to coverage and prices in Massachusetts, as a suggestion of what the Affordable Care Act might bring to the rest of the nation with expanded coverage. Read more, or …



Coverage in Massachusetts did indeed expand,  with the total number of uninsured people now at 4%, the lowest rate in the nation. But costs did not go down. In fact, they’re sky-high, according to a new report by the  state Health Policy Commission.

The full slide deck and report are here. Of course, more people are covered by insurance, but the per-capita costs are high as well.

Here are excerpts from a story, from the Quincy, Mass., Patriot-Ledget:

“Massachusetts residents use health care services at what is often a significantly higher rate than their counterparts in the rest of the country, and the cost of those services is higher than in any other state, a new report says.

“The report, by the state Health Policy Commission, says per capita spending on health care in Massachusetts was 36 percent higher than the national average in 2009, and that, in addition to higher utilization rates, Massachusetts had higher prices than the U.S. average across all payer types, from Medicare and MassHealth to commercial plans.

“ ‘Spending in Massachusetts is the highest of any state in the U.S., crowding out other priorities for consumers, business, and government,’ states the report, which was released at the commission’s annual meeting Wednesday. …

“Per capita health care spending in Massachusetts is the highest among the states, at $9,278. The report gives $6,815 as the national average.

“Spending on hospital care and long-term care accounted for the bulk of the difference between per capita spending here and elsewhere in the U.S.

“Massachusetts has a higher percentage of residents enrolled in Medicaid and spends more per Medicaid enrollee. The report estimates $8,278 in expenditures per Medicaid enrollee, 21 percent higher than the U.S. figure of $6,826, due to factors such as the health status of enrollees, the “breadth of benefits,” and higher reimbursement rates for physicians.” Michael Norton, State House News Service, via Report: Health care costs the most in Mass. – Quincy, MA – The Patriot Ledger.


Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...