Visible Divide in NorCal/SoCal Medical Expenses

The difference is in everything from procedure cost to premium increases.

Striking comparisons can be found in the costs of fairly regular procedures. A caesarean section averages $28,828 in the four-county Sacramento area, while the same procedure is $17,567 in L.A. County, over $10,000 less. A knee replacement carries a $42,488 price tag in the same Sacramento area, while L.A. County residents can get the same for $27,276.

Some healthcare experts attribute the north-south disparity to an unsurprising culprit, a simple lack of competition in NorCal. Northern California tends to see larger hospital chains dominate the medical landscape while Southern California benefits from more independent groups and smaller alliances.

Premiums also see a schism, and NorCal’s are going up. The average increase for a Covered California plan for 2016 was 7% for the north, SoCal only has to deal with a 1.8% increase.

In effort to draw more attention to the disparity within the state, State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Consumer Reports created an online tool to compare all things healthcare within California.

Dubbed “California Healthcare Compare”, you can explore things for yourself here.

The full story on the schism in California healthcare can be found here.