San Francisco, Sacramento Most Costly Cities for Primary Care Visits
San Francisco and Sacramento are the two most expensive cities for preventive primary care visits in the U.S., according to an analysis released Tuesday by Castlight Health, the Washington Post reports (Sun, Washington Post, 6/10).
Details of Analysis
The analysis compared prices for a cholesterol test, a head CT scan, a lower back MRI and a primary care physician visit for people with employer-based coverage in more than 60 metropolitan areas across the U.S. The analysis also compared prices within each city (Rice, "Vital Signs," Modern Healthcare, 6/10).
Prices are defined as the employee cost-sharing plus the amount paid by the consumer (Castlight analysis, 6/10).
Prices in San Francisco for a primary care physician visit typically were the highest in the nation, at about $251, while prices were the lowest in Miami, at about $95.
According to the map, the five most costly cities for a primary care visit are:
- San Francisco, at $251;
- Sacramento, at $219;
- Portland, Ore., at $216;
- Minneapolis, at $209; and
- Charlotte, N.C., at $199.
In addition, the analysis found that Sacramento was the most expensive city for both CT scans of the head, at $1,404, and MRIs of the lower back, at $2,635.
Jennifer Schneider, an internist and vice president of strategic analytics at Castlight, linked the wide price variations to negotiations between insurers and providers, which largely are dependent on who has the largest market share. She added that prices varied based on cost of living and various demographic factors for each city, such as how the cost of living in San Francisco is very high (Washington Post, 6/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.