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North Carolina ranks among worst states for healthcare

A report from Forbes reveals residents in North Carolina struggle to access and afford healthcare. (Pexels/Pixabay)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A new report from Forbes reveals residents in North Carolina, along with several Southern neighbors, struggle to access and afford healthcare.

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Released on Oct. 13, Forbes’ rankings placed North Carolina last among the 50 states in healthcare costs and third to worst for healthcare overall.

The top five worst states for healthcare and their scores (out of 100, the lowest score is better) include:

  • Georgia — 100
  • Alabama — 87.03
  • North Carolina — 85.95
  • Mississippi — 84.70
  • South Carolina — 83.5

Out of the top 10 worst states, seven are in the South.

Forbes’s methodology included four determinants and 24 metrics used to score each of the four categories with a different weight. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Healthcare access (weighted 46.5): measures percentage of people without health insurance, number of healthcare workers and hospital beds compared to population
  • Healthcare outcomes (weighted 24): measures mortality rates of infants and other conditions
  • Healthcare cost (weighted 15): analyzes average annual premium costs and percentage covered by employer, along with the amount of residents who chose not to see a doctor due to cost
  • Quality of hospital care (weighted 14.5): measures wait times along with access to care and information

According to Forbes, North Carolinians with single health insurance coverage through an employer pay the eighth highest premium nationwide at $1,847 per year, while employers cover the eighth lowest percentage of the cost at 76.18%.

North Carolina also has the fifth lowest number of nurse practitioners, eighth highest infant mortality rate, ninth highest rate of both stroke, influenza, and pneumonia deaths.

The ranking comes months after North Carolina became the 40th state to implement federal Medicaid expansion, expected to bring insurance coverage to over 60,000 North Carolinians. The four other Southern states ranked worst overall have not expanded the program.

The top five best states for healthcare and their scores are below:

  • Minnesota, 0
  • Massachusetts, 2.26
  • Rhode Island, 4.45
  • Connecticut, 5.09
  • Vermont, 10.72

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