Colorado has the nation’s seventh-best health care system, ranking third for outcomes but 23rd in terms of cost, according to a new report.

Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire took the top three best health care system rankings, while Alaska, Mississippi and Louisiana came in at the bottom of the list.

The report, “2018’s Best & Worst States for Health Care,” released by personal finance website WalletHub, compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine where Americans receive the highest-quality services at the best prices. Researchers looked at three key areas — health care cost, access and outcomes.

The data set included average monthly insurance premium, physicians per capita, hospital beds per capita, share of insured population, physician Medicare-acceptance rate, and rates of infant mortality, heart disease and cancer.

Colorado fared better than surrounding states: Kansas was 13th overall; Nebraska 16th; New Mexico 30th; Wyoming 33rd; and Oklahoma came in 45th.

Key results for Colorado (1 = best; 25 = average) include:
19th – average monthly insurance premium
20th – dentists per capita
24th – percentage of insured adults
14th – percentage of medical residents retained

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“According to the CDC, 88.1 percent of the population has a regular place to go for medical care,” the report stated. “But the cost and service quality of that care can vary widely from state to state.

“The overall health of the population, more advanced medical equipment and a general lack of awareness regarding the best types of treatment, for instance, can all affect costs. Today, the average American spends more than $10,000 per year on personal health care, according to the most recent estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That’s about 17.9 percent of the U.S. GDP.”

But higher costs don’t necessarily translate to better results, the report said.

“According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. lags behind several other wealthy nations on several measures, such as health coverage, life expectancy and disease burden, which measures longevity and quality of life,” it said. “However, the U.S. has improved in giving more healthcare access for people in worse health, and healthcare cost growth has slowed somewhat.”