DALLAS — This might make you feel a little…unwell. You may have recently heard the news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas came to an agreement to continue covering care provided by one of the largest hospital systems in Texas, Southwestern Health Resources. That’s good enough news.
The part that might make you queasy came during the negotiations, when BCBS of Texas complained publicly about how much money SWHR wanted to charge for healthcare. Citing this report, the insurer claimed that, “The Dallas-Fort Worth region is already the most expensive health care market in Texas with costs that are 16% above the national average”.
Study: No matter the type of coverage, DFW medical bills are higher
A study last year looked at the costs of healthcare from region to region. If you click on the ‘figures/tables’ tab on the right half of the screen, the brown shading represents the highest amount of money spent per beneficiary when researchers looked at people covered by private insurance as well as those who had Medicare coverage or Medicaid coverage.
You can clearly see the parts of Texas where medical bills fall into the most expensive category. But notice a pattern: No matter what type of coverage they had, patients in the DFW area consistently racked up the most expensive bills.
The paper also found that in addition to three New York State locales (The Bronx, Manhattan and White Plains), Dallas was the only other metro in the country where healthcare bills are in the highest category no matter the type of insurance coverage.
Shopping around for medical care
Some patients in North Texas might actually find it more cost effective to search their provider network and find care in other cities that are considered in-network by their insurer. In some cases, the insurance company might even pay in-network benefits for care that is scheduled out-of-state. But, of course, check and double-check with your provider if you are considering that option.
And if you are seriously thinking of going elsewhere, carefully compare all the costs, including the non-medical ones. Near the end of this page, you can compare the overall cost of medical care from city to city.