Where You Live Matters: Looking at Children’s Healthcare Costs Across the Country
by Lizzie Stewart on Oct 19, 2020 0
It’s no secret that American healthcare is wildly complicated, and, for many young families, intensely intimidating. When figuring out how to insure your child’s health, managing trips to clinics versus the hospital and trying to create a healthy baseline for your child with as much preventative care as possible, it can be hard to determine what’s right. A factor that adds yet another layer of complexity to the youth healthcare dilemma is cost. And certainly, taking care of kids is expensive.
Interestingly, as pointed out in a recent study by Weiss & Paarz, a medical malpractice attorney team, where you live in the United States has major implications on the expenses associated with a child’s health.
According to their study, the cost of healthcare for children from birth through age 18 spans over $14,300 in statewide averages across the country.
On the low side of costs is Hawaii, where healthcare costs through age 18 average out to around $7,500. According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii’s low healthcare costs are no accident. Per Hawaii’s 1974 Prepaid Health Care Act, all employers must provide health insurance to employees working over 20 hours a week. This means that Hawaii is generations ahead of the rest of the country in terms of healthcare accessibility and employer stipulations, helping create a healthier state, which, in turn, has lower childhood healthcare costs.
But, as much as we’d like, not every family can up and move to Hawaii to save some money on healthcare. It may be more realistic for families to rule out states with exorbitantly high childhood healthcare costs.
The state with the highest healthcare expenses through age 18 was Washington, D.C., where childhood healthcare expenses averaged around $21,900, over 39% above the national average. There has to be some explanation for these huge numbers.
It just might be that everything associated with raising a child becomes more expensive D.C. lines. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. has some of the highest costs of childcare across the country. The district ranked 1st of 50 states for the most expensive infant care, averaging at around $2,020 a month according to the 2019 report. Childcare costs remain high and exceed the costs associated with yearly housing and college payments for parents in the area.
Given these high costs of childcare, the costs of healthcare might appropriately match the location-specific inflation. And so, for young families looking to move near the D.C. area, living in a nearby suburb where both babysitters and routine check-ups are cheaper might be a huge budget saver.
No matter where you live, child healthcare costs may be helped down by offering your child a healthy life, full of nutrition, exercise, and education in between doctor’s visits. So here’s to healthy kids and happy families!