(The Center Square) – Iowa is the second-best state in the nation for health care, according to a new study from MoneyGeek.
The personal finance technology company analyzed data to form composite scores comprising health outcomes, cost and access.
Iowa ranks second nationally overall, with a score of 95.4, compared with leader Hawaii, whose score is 99.0. The other states that make up the top five are Colorado, Minnesota and Rhode Island.
Iowa has the second-best access to care, following Rhode Island. Rhode Island’s uninsured population rate is the second-lowest in the nation, 4.1%. Iowa has the seventh-best costs, and the 15th best outcomes.
Access factors include number of hospital beds, number of primary care providers, primary care provide shortages, percentage of population with access to any insurance versus just health insurance and ease of access to care at the doctors, clinic or specialist using Medicare.
Outcome factors included infant mortality rate, preventable death rate, diabetes mortality rate, obesity, smoking rate, life expectancy, suicide over age 12 rates, new HIV cases over age 13, opioid-related hospital stay rate.
Cost factors were health care spending portion of state GDP, state government spending on health care and social assistance per resident and average annual private health insurance premium costs.
Full weight measures were preventable death rate, infant mortality rate, annual health insurance costs and percentage of population with health insurance.
Half weight measures were life expectancy, diabetes mortality per capita, obesity as percentage of the population, number of hospital beds per capita and health care spending, both as a percentage of state GDP and as share of GDP per resident.
Preparedness and Treatment Equity Coalition Director of Research Cyrena Gawuga, of Rhode Island, said states with worse health outcomes and access can improve health care by attracting primary care providers from areas of the country oversaturated with providers.
She said states should reduce barriers to health insurance for people with lower income, improve social care and invest in health equity initiatives that aim to reduce disparities in outcomes and access that disproportionately impact people of color.
“Most social determinants of health exist outside the influence of the health care system,” she said. “Without effective social services that address issues such as housing, food security and transportation, any efforts to improve health care are incomplete.”
Eight of the 10 worst states for health care are in the South and Southeast: West Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kentucky and Missouri. Alaska was third worst while New Mexico was seventh in the bottom 10 lineup. Arizona and Maine tied for 10th worst in the nation.