Best Places to Live

2014 10 Best Cities for Affordable Healthcare

Staying healthy shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg. Yet across the country, health-care expenses are putting big dents in family budgets. The Top 10 Cities for Affordable Health Care offer some relief.

Downtown Portland, ME
Photo: Visit Portland/GPCVB

Staying healthy shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg. Yet across the country, health-care expenses are putting big dents in family budgets. The Top 10 Cities for Affordable Health Care offer some relief. They have the right prescription of low health-care spending; good access to hospitals, doctors and other providers; and an excellent quality of life.

To determine health-care affordability in each city, we considered Esri survey data on average per capita spending on health care and related items. While this was a big part of the equation, it wasn't the only measure we used to create this list. The full checkup included the number of area hospitals; the number of primary care physicians and dentists per capita; the number of premature deaths (years of potential life lost); and the percentage of residents exposed to unsafe drinking water.

And finally, the cities selected had to be great places to live overall, with plenty of things to do in terms of recreation, entertainment and dining. For that point, we reviewed LivScore data developed for our recent Top 100 Best Places to Live, which also includes factors such as walkability, incomes, access to locally grown food and the climate. After all, being healthy is great, but not if you're bored stiff.

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Ranking Criteria

Average per capita spending on health care
Number of area hospitals
Primary care physicians and dentists per capita
Number of premature deaths
Percentage of residents exposed to unsafe drinking water
Number of recreation, entertainment and dining options
LivScore Index (composite of livability factors)