U.S. regional map For more than 35 years, Maryland has operated the nation’s only all-payer hospital rate regulation program. Is that why its health care costs are so low?  (Image: Shutterstock)

Although price is the driver of both higher and lower health care costs in some geographies, utilization makes the difference in overall costs in other states, according to the third annual benchmark report, “Healthcare Affordability — Data is the Spark, Collaboration is the Fuel,” by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, a national organization representing more than 30 member regional health improvement collaboratives.

In each of the three benchmark reports, Maryland had the lowest cost of the regions. In the most recent year, the total cost index varied from 20 percent below the benchmark for Maryland, to 19 percent above the benchmark for Colorado, the highest-cost region.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.

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