Where Employers Can Find Sanctuary From Medical Bills

There's a simple way for individuals -- or employers -- to reduce the escalating cost of medical insurance: Relocate to a city where medical bills are low. According to a recent survey of typical group health insurance packages for a worker and his dependents by actuarial consultants Milliman & Robertson Inc., "the differences in medical costs throughout the country are staggering." Based on data provided by major group health insurance underwriters for the nation's 400 largest metropolitan areas, the firm found that such costs are more than twice as high in the most expensive city, Los Angeles ($7,577 a year per worker), as in the least expensive city, Glens Falls, N.Y. ($3,197). The national average is $4,380 per worker.

Of the 10 highest-cost cities, seven are in California and three, including Miami, are in Florida. As for New York, Boston, and Chicago, they rank 19, 51, and 58, respectively, registering costs 39%, 17%, and 14% above the national average. The 10 least expensive areas were smaller cities in New York, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.

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