Health Insurance Cheaper in Suburbs

Worst downtown

By Steve Rhodes
|  Tuesday, Nov 3, 2009  |  Updated 12:21 PM CDT
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Stroger Hospital, for instance, is more expensive than one in Lake County.

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Wanna lower your health insurance premiums? Move to the suburbs.

According to data compiled by Chicago-based Norvax Inc., the further you live from downtown, the less expensive your health insurance becomes.

"It's one reason we need health care reform," Consumer Watchdog research director Judy Dugan told the Sun-Times. "To get rid of this kind of weird disparity in pricing."

The disparity makes a certain amount of sense if you consider that a hospital downtown like, say, Northwestern Memorial, is a more expensive place to spend your health care dollar than a less prestigious institution in a 'burb.

But should Oak Park residents really get to pay 14.6 percent less on average for their health insurance?

Norvax found that people living 15 to 25 miles from downtown pay 12 to 15 percent less on their monthly premiums, and those who live 25 to 40 miles from downtown pay 20 to 30 percent less.

That doesn't mean people are healthier the furthest away from downtown they are; in some instances it might mean their health services are not just cheaper, but worse in quality.

Certainly Norvax isn't convinced. Their offices are located in River North.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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