California’s Priciest County for Health Care

“The definition of a market failure,” is how economist and health care expert Ivana Krajcinovic describes the state of health care in Monterey County.

Lack of competition has driven up prices at Monterey health facilities, making this county one of the priciest health care markets in the country.  According to RAND, three Monterey hospitals — Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Natividad Medical Center and Mee Memorial Healthcare System — are among the top 10% most expensive hospitals in the state. The problem is so bad that at least one insurance company pays for members to travel to other counties for care. 

Residents and activists have filed complaints with the state’s new Office of Health Care Affordability, but the office is limited to examining future price increases.

The sky-high health costs pose an enormous challenge for families in Monterey, where the average annual salary is less than $58,000. The stakes could not be greater. For some Monterey County residents, life hangs in the balance. 

Read more about the county’s costly health care market and its impacts here