The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Healthcare Access

Published May 22, 2020

The ability to receive quality medical care is incredibly important, and that ability becomes even more crucial in the midst of a major global pandemic like the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Even beyond a major worldwide medical crisis, we know how important it is in general for people to have access to top-notch medical care as they age in retirement.

For all of those reasons, the Coventry Direct team wanted to find the places in America that had the least access to healthcare to help people know the cities to avoid when looking for somewhere to live once they are done working. Conversely, our research also revealed which places are the best in the country when it comes to healthcare access. Read on to find out more about both the good and bad when it comes to healthcare accessibility in America!

The 50 Worst U.S. Cities For Healthcare Access

coventry worst cities for health care

For our analysis, we looked at the 200 largest cities in America by population and then gathered data from sources such as WebMD, the Centers For Disease Control, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the United States Medicare and Medicaid office to assign each city a score of 0-5 in eight different factors. The factors we evaluated were:

  • The number of doctors and nurses per 100,000 residents
  • Total healthcare workers per 100,000
  • The number of total healthcare facilities per 100,000
  • The number of healthcare facilities per square mile
  • Average emergency room wait time
  • The percentage of people who could not receive needed care in the last year due to excess costs
  • The percentage of people without insurance
  • The percentage of people in fair to poor health in every city

We then weighted each of these factors to produce an overall score for each city on a 0-100 scale.

Once we combined our factor scores and weights, we found that the southern half of the United States in general, and Texas in particular, offer citizens the worst access to healthcare in the country. Of the 50 cities with the worst healthcare access, less than ten are located north of Kentucky, and each of the eight worst cities are all located in Texas. In total, 28% of the bottom 50 are in the Lone Star State, a truly remarkable number.

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For anyone interested in the specifics of how each of the bottom 50 scored, this interactive table breaks down how each city performed under the evaluated factors. The table also includes information on how each factor was weighted as a part of the overall score. As there is too much information to fit cleanly on most screens, users can scroll right on the chart to reveal more data.

The 50 Best U.S. Cities For Healthcare Access

coventry best cities for healthcare

Fortunately, our analysis was not entirely doom and gloom, as we were able to find the best cities for healthcare access using these evaluation methods as well. Much like the rankings of the worst cities, when looking at the best of the best, one state stood out above the rest. 23 of the 50 best cities were all located in California, accounting for a whopping 46% of the top 50. It is also worth noting that Texas did perform decently on this side of things, with five of the top 50 cities, tied with Arizona as the state with the second-most representation.


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Once again, we have produced a secondary interactive chart breaking down the factors for each of the top 50 cities with the best healthcare access. Interested users can peruse these scores to see how each of the top 50 performed in each category. Again, scrolling right will reveal more data.

Additionally, we created the interactive chart below chronicling how each of the 200 cities we evaluated performed for each factor as well as overall. This chart includes data on 100 additional cities that scored in between those highlighted in the best and worst maps. Users can click on the different headers to see the best and worst cities in each category, as well as use the search bar to find specific cities. Scrolling right reveals further data.


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We hope this analysis has been interesting and enlightening, especially for those nearing retirement and looking to move somewhere new once they leave the workforce. And remember, if that describes you and your life situation, Coventry Direct can help turn your life insurance policy into money to help fund your dream retirement, no matter where you choose to live.

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