Health Care Costs in Wyoming Higher than National Average

Written by on April 18, 2019

Why is health care more expensive in Wyoming than in surrounding states?

A report in the Casper Star Tribune attempted to answer that question last month. A database examining what was paid in Wyoming for care bundles — like wrist x-rays or hip replacements — found that of 254 services, 242 were more expensive here than the median national price.

The state’s database shows that Wyoming employers and employees together pay more for nearly every service tracked than much of the nation. That goes for x-rays, pregnancy tests, shoulder surgeries, and other procedures. For example, the median price for a breast biopsy in Wyoming is just over $7,300. That’s about $2,300 more than in Colorado and $2,700 more than the US median price.

The article highlighted factors for high costs that included insurance companies – but industry officials said they lacked the power to dictate pricing locally.

A legislative committee is examining hospitals to determine their role in driving up prices, although advocates say they’re actually operating on thin margins and just trying to provide services needed by their communities.

Another cause may be the way Wyoming is spread out, which isolates hospitals that struggle to provide the services their residents want at the prices those communities can afford.

Reimbursement rates, pharmaceuticals, the cost of medical devices, uncompensated care — they all play a role in the condition of Wyoming’s expensive health ecosystem.


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