Health Care

Grand Rapids ranks as a top city for 'affordable health care'

February 18, 2014
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Health care costs are affected by health care providers passing on the cost for caring for the uninsured to the insured. Courtesy Thinkstock

Health care in Grand Rapids is relatively affordable — when compared to the rest of the nation.

Grand Rapids ranks No. 9 in the national ranking of “Top 10 Cities for Affordable Health Care” posted yesterday by Livability.com.

Grand Rapids follows a balanced diet of low health care spending, accessibility to hospitals and physicians and quality of life, according to Livability.com.

Methodology

The ranking is based on several factors: average per capita spending on health care, number of area hospitals, primary care physicians and dentists per capita, number of premature deaths and percentage of residents exposed to unsafe drinking water.

The ranking also considers various market factors: walkability, income, number of farmers markets, natural environment and climate, recreation, entertainment and dining options.

Grand Rapids findings

Grand Rapids residents spend 31 percent less on health care costs than the average American.

Grand Rapids ranks third lowest in health care spending among the other nine cities on the list, and the average resident lives longer than the national median.

The primary care physician-to-resident ratio in Grand Rapids is considered high at one physician for every 1,129 individuals.

“Health care costs are rising for most Americans, and the insurance marketplace is a complicated place,” said Matt Carmichael, editor of Livability.com. “We wanted to create a list of cities with quality, accessible and affordable health care. But equally importantly, we wanted these cities and towns to be good places to live, too.”

Health care market

Livability.com notes that Grand Rapids, marked by Medical Mile downtown, is home to 12 hospitals in the region, including Spectrum Health, Mercy Health and Metro Health.

Hospitals in the market regularly rank among the top in the nation for various services.

Ellen Bristol, a spokesperson at Metro Health, said the general thought is any of the major hospitals in the Grand Rapids area could be the leader in quality in any city across the county.

“I think one of the really fortunate things about living in West Michigan is that we have access to very high health care,” Bristol said. “As a place to live, Grand Rapids and West Michigan is a great place.”

"Top 10 Cities for Affordable Health Care"

1. Iowa City, Iowa

2. Morgantown, W.V.

3. Mankato, Minn.

4. Portland, Maine

5. Hartford, Conn.

6. Charlottesville, Va.

7. Albany, N.Y.

8. Lincoln, Neb.

9. Grand Rapids

10. Burien, Wash.

Source: Livability.com, 2014

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