Back Study Shows Best and Worst States for Healthcare in 2021
January 12, 2021

Iowa overtakes Massachusetts for top healthcare performance. Stark contrast in healthcare delivery among U.S. states is particularly important amid ongoing pandemic

Foster City, CA: January 12, 2021 - updated its award-winning research today on healthcare quality among U.S. states and finds the states that are best positioned to meet coronavirus challenges and other ongoing demands. The latest study confirms that where you live can impact access, cost and effectiveness of healthcare services.

The complete report, Vital Signs: Best States for Healthcare 2021, includes an interactive map allowing consumers to easily compare healthcare conditions among up to three states at a time.

To analyze healthcare quality, ranked all 50 states plus the District of Columbia on eight factors:

  1. Health insurance coverage
  2. Reported health status
  3. Child immunization coverage
  4. Infant mortality
  5. Nursing home adequacy
  6. Medical office staffing adequacy
  7. Hospital affordability
  8. Health insurance affordability

Based on an average ranking across the above criteria, Iowa emerges as this year’s best state for healthcare, bumping Massachusetts from its overall position in last year’s report. On the opposite end of the spectrum, South Carolina struggles in last place for the second consecutive year.

Healthcare disparity between states is illustrated in the following examples:

  • A Texas resident is six times as likely as one in Massachusetts to lack health insurance
  • West Virginians are almost twice as likely as those in the District of Columbia to describe themselves as being in fair or poor health
  • The infant mortality rate in Mississippi is 2.4 times that in New Hampshire
  • The cost of a daily hospital stay is more than 2.5 times as high in Washington state as in Mississippi

“As COVID cases strain health systems nationally, it becomes increasingly important to understand which states are most likely to deliver highest quality care,” notes Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst for “Healthcare is one factor considered by those determining the best states to retire, and also for people thinking about the best states to raise a family.”

Iowa achieves top-ten ranking in four of eight categories this year, with first-place position in health insurance coverage and child immunization. The top ten states for healthcare delivery overall include:

  1. Iowa
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Nebraska (tie)
  1. North Dakota (tie)
  1. Connecticut
  2. Rhode Island
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Virginia
  5. Maryland
  6. Kentucky

States ranking in the bottom ten are listed from worst to 10th-worst:

  1. South Carolina
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Alaska
  4. New Mexico
  5. Texas
  6. Georgia
  7. Arizona
  8. California
  9. North Carolina
  10. Nevada

“It’s clear that where people live can significantly affect the healthcare they receive,” explains Barrington. “With health systems taxed as never before, this can be crucial information to consider.”

Barrington is available to elaborate on this research and its findings.

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