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Juneau's healthcare prices top nation

Posted: March 31, 2014 - 12:04am

ANCHORAGE — A new study says four Alaska cities have the costliest health care prices in the nation.

Juneau was the costliest city for health care that was listed in the report released last week by the Council for Community and Economic Research, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Second on the list was Fairbanks, followed by Kodiak. Anchorage was fourth on the list, followed by Everett, Wash., and Boston.

The national research council measured 300 cities based on average 2013 prices for visits with physicians, dentists and optometrists.

The report says the average cost for a full vision eye exam in Anchorage was $166. That’s almost 72 percent higher than the national average.

A general physical in Anchorage averaged $166, about 63 percent higher than the national average. A teeth cleaning in Anchorage cost $124 on average, or 42 percent more than the national average.

Some health care professionals blame Anchorage’s high prices on the steep cost of such things as shipping, salaries and rents. Economists said costly health care affects the entire community. Health care professionals and economists said they have begun to form coalitions to address the costs.

“This isn’t just a low-income issue, it’s a community issue,” said Bill Popp, president of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., which collected the data for the research council. “This affects everybody.”

Julie Taylor, the CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, moved to the city from Colorado early this year. She said doctors and nurses in Anchorage earn at least 30 percent more, not including sign-on bonuses or relocation expenses.

“You pay tens of thousands of dollars to get them up here and then you hope they stay,” Taylor said. “Some people can come up here and live here for three years and then they say, ‘We’re going back to the lower 48.’”

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Kelly Flynn
Kelly Flynn 03/31/14 - 11:17 am
poor health

Hi Tom, according to that logic Juneau must have the unhealthiest population in the union and the most people using the emergency room? I dont think so.

Steven Rosales
Steven Rosales 03/31/14 - 07:39 pm

that is factually wrong. Medicaid puts a huge burden on the states. How about get a job, dont drop out of highschool, stop drinking and drugging. A good job/ career is the best medicine. Most people below the poverty line are there for a reason.

Alavini Lata
Alavini Lata 04/01/14 - 02:05 pm
Statistically, jobless numbers are high

Steven, I don't get your logic although, I agree that there are pockets of folks who receive medicaid who rely solely on public assistance and should get jobs but the facts is that Juneau also has a high demographic of seniors and people with disabilities who don't work and who recieve medicaid. I don't think medicaid or changing it will affect the cost of health care in this community. The healthcare cost itself is aggreed to by the individual clinic, hospital, and health provider depending on the a national code tied to the serivce and it's cost statewide. The cost then is entered into the providers billing and compared to reimbursable insurance profiles for a comminity.Have you ever wondered why a dental cleaning in the lower 48 cost $69.99 and in Juneau its $250? All providers in the state drive their costs up because they can. At the same time, in defence of the business community, the cost to maintain a provider service in SE is high and the costs trickle down on the consumers. Sorry bout it but that's the price we pay to live here.

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