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New database allows for geographic insurance-cost comparison

Physician Practice Advisor, December 27, 2006

A new federal database created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) allows companies, consumers, healthcare analysts, and others to compare health insurance costs by city and geographic area for the first time, according to an AHRQ press release.

"We already know that the quality of healthcare can vary significantly according to geography," AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, said in the release. "These new data highlight local cost variations and may help employers make annual benefit-plan decisions."

The AHRQ database includes statistical averages for New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Dallas; Miami; Houston; Washington, DC; Atlanta; Detroit; Boston; San Francisco; Riverside, CA; Phoenix; Seattle; Minneapolis; San Diego; St. Louis; Baltimore; and Tampa, FL. It also includes comparisons within states.

Go to the AHRQ Web site for more information about how to access the database.