A newly issued report ranked a New Jersey city as having the fifth-highest health care costs in the United States, and some experts weren’t surprised at the finding.
Information services company Thomson Reuters studied the use and cost of health care services for 23.5 million Americans in 382 metropolitan statistical areas that were covered by employer health care plans, and found Ocean City residents spent $6,128 a year on medical costs. The lowest per-capita spending was in the Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, metropolitan statistical area, with $2,623 of annual cost, according to the report, which used 2009 data.
Another study said that New Jersey’s statewide health care spending exceeded the national average.
Average costs per active employee in New Jersey were $10,751, compared to a national average of $9,562, according to a 2010 national survey of employer-sponsored health plans conducted by Mercer, a national consulting group.
“Health care costs in New Jersey have been rising rapidly for the past few years,” said Christopher Biddle, a spokesman for the Trenton-based New Jersey Business & Industry Association. “This has caused concern for employers, who have been trying to keep their health care benefit and other costs down, especially during this slow economy.”
An executive with Trenton’s New Jersey Policy Perspective said she wasn’t surprised by the findings, though she wasn’t familiar with the particulars on how the report was structured. “But New Jersey is a high-cost state that’s well-covered by doctors and hospitals,” said NJPP research director Mary E. Forsberg, “so it wouldn’t surprise me if we were a high-cost state when it comes to health care.”
Calls to Shore-area hospitals seeking input were not immediately returned.