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Bay Area Has Highest Health Care Costs in the Country: Report

It's no secret that the Bay Area has some of the highest housing costs in the country. Well, according to new data, it also leads the list in highest health care costs.

The Health Care Cost Institute examined 1.8 billion medical records filed between 2012 and 2016 from four big private insurers across the country and the result showed the San Jose metro area is at the top of the chart.

Along with Anchorage, Alaska, San Jose's health care prices are 65 percent above the national average whiel San Francisco and Oakland's are nearly 50 percent above the national average.

The study compared costs for patients with employer-sponsored health insurance by metro area to the national average and to similar patients in 111 other metro areas.

Baltimore, for example, pays 33 percent below the national average and was placed at the bottom of the list.

Santa Clara resident Joanne took her daughter to an Urgent Care in Santa Clara earlier this year to get checked for the flu. After a quick doctor’s visit, some ibuprofen and a quick x-ray, doctors said it was nothing but she was still charged more than $800 after insurance.

"I feel like there are no price controls," she said. "So when we call them to talk to them they just told us 'for example, we charge four to five times the medical reimbursement rate.'"

Joanne's disputing the bill, but she's not the only one paying more for medical services.

NBC Bay Area reached out to several local medical groups and hospitals Wednesday night to find out why the Bay Area pays more, and if it has something to do with the high cost of living but there’s been no response.

"What’s really stopping them from charging 10 to 15 times," Joanne said. "It's all just very arbitrary and clearly not necessarily related to the actual cost of providing the service."

So why do we pay more?

Jo Coffaro, a regional VP with the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, said after reviewing the study she thinks the big difference is in fact the cost of living.

"Salaries, benefits, property costs are so much more here," she said. "Health care providers are also spending more in those areas."

Full report here.

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