Saturday, February 27, 2021

20 Best Metropolitan Areas for Clinical Lab Tech Pay

Last December we took a look at Clinical Lab Tech Pay in the Top 20 Metro Markets.  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reveals that, without question, the biggest population metro areas are major employment centers for clinical lab technologists and technicians. However, a deeper dive into the BLS data makes it clear that clinical lab techs employed in smaller metro markets very often attain better compensation levels than do their larger market counterparts. In fact, May 2019 data from the BLS reveals that only one of the 20 largest metro markets in the U.S. were among the 20 best metropolitan areas for clinical lab tech pay:

Metropolitan Area # Employed Annual Mean Wages
1 Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ 90 $80,560
2 Carson City, NV 50 $78,400
3 Anchorage, AK 370 $76,370
4 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA 70 $75,180
5 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade 1,690 $73,530
6 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 310 $73,410
7 Redding, CA 150 $72,850
8 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 220 $71,790
9 Fairbanks, AK 40 $71,670
10 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 170 $71,390
11 New Haven, CT 1,220 $69,870
12 Longview, WA 50 $69,070
13 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 660 $68,870
14 Bellingham, WA 140 $68,860
15 Salinas, CA 110 $68,610
16 New York-Newark-Jersey City (#) 18,490 $68,260
17 Corvallis, OR 100 $67,440
18 Norwich-New London-Westerly, CT-RI 330 $67,170
19 Ocean City, NJ N/A $66,750
20 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford 1,120 $66,690
National 326,020 $54,780

(#) a top 20 U.S metro population area

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics OES. Data extracted on December 5, 2020

Friday, February 26, 2021

Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Southwest

Thanks to broader benefits and usually lower costs than Original Medicare coverage, Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans have much to offer budget-minded Medicare eligible individuals. Despite utilizing managed care protocols to control costs, MA plans have been attracting growing numbers of Medicare eligible seniors away from traditional Medicare coverage.  In bit more than four years, from October 2016 through January 2021, the market share of MA plans across the U.S. has grown from under 31% of Medicare eligible Americans to slightly more than 41%.

The growing popularity of Medicare Advantage plans nationally is reflected in the four-state Southwest region of the U.S., where MA plan enrollment has grown from a 31.1% share of the Medicare eligible market in October 2016 to 42.4% as of January 2021.  Here is a state-by-state look at how Medicare Advantage market share in the Southwest has expanded from October 2016 to January 2021:

Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Southwest

Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Southwest


Medicare Eligible (1) MA Enrollment (1) % MA Market Share
State Jan-21 Oct-16 Jan-21 Oct-16 Jan-21 Oct-16
AZ 1,377.3 1,186.6 615.3 450.6 44.7% 38.0%
NM 435.7 386.3 175.1 124.8 40.2% 32.3%
OK 756.1 698.8 220.5 119.0 29.2% 17.0%
TX 4,316.2 3,778.6 1,906.9 1,185.4 44.2% 31.4%
Region 6,885.3 6,050.2 2,917.8 1,879.8 42.4% 31.1%
Total (2) 62,741.5 56,888.7 25,936.7 17,489.5 41.3% 30.7%

(1) in thousands; region totals may not equal sum of individual states due to rounding adjustments
(2) includes U.S. territories

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Private Sector Employee-Only Health Premium Costs in the Far West

Private employers in Far West states usually incur annual costs for single premium (i.e. employee-only) health insurance coverage that are lower than in other regions of the U.S.  An exception is Alaska, where small firms, with fewer than 50 employees, and larger firms both face annual premium costs well in excess of the national average for similar-sized firms.  Larger firms in the state of Washington also face higher than the national average employee-only premium rates, but only slightly higher.  Elsewhere in the Far West, private employers typically incur annual premium rates for employee-only health insurance coverage that are below the national average for similar-sized employers. Data from the most recent (2019) Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which is a survey administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, reveals the following about private sector employee-only health premium costs in the Far West region and nationally:

State (1) Small Firms (2) Large Firms Overall Avg.
AK $9,427 $8,841 $8,933
CA $6,874 $6,955 $6,939
HI $6,746 $6,634 $6,671
OR $5,933 $6,846 $6,651
WA $6,259 $7,052 $6,897
U.S. $6,920 $6,983 $6,972

(1) fewer than 50 employees
(2) 50 or more employees

Source:  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey  Table II.C.1 - Average total single premium (in dollars) per enrolled employee at private-sector establishments that offer health insurance by firm size and State: United States, 2019

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

20 Best Metropolitan Markets for Healthcare Social Worker Pay

In a December commentary we discussed Healthcare Social Worker Pay in the Top 20 Metro Areas.  U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest populations naturally employ far more healthcare social workers than do smaller metro areas. However, for healthcare social workers interested in maximizing their earnings potential, better compensation opportunities may await in smaller metro markets. According to May 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only three of the 20 largest metro areas in the U.S. were among the 20 best metropolitan markets for healthcare social worker pay:

Metropolitan Area # Employed Annual Mean Wages
1 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 130 $90,120
2 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 900 $89,620
3 Salinas, CA 130 $89,500
4 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (#) 2,520 $86,560
5 Napa, CA N/A $84,370
6 Fresno, CA 390 $83,550
7 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim (#) 7,600 $83,430
8 Springfield, OH 60 $83,000
9 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 450 $82,930
10 Laredo, TX 60 $81,610
11 Santa Rosa, CA 260 $81,290
12 Valdosta, GA 40 $80,950
13 Bakersfield, CA 270 $79,870
14 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA 100 $78,300
15 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 580 $77,960
16 Modesto, CA 200 $76,230
17 Las Cruces, NM 150 $76,130
18 Riverside-San Bernardino (#) 1,560 $75,900
19 Eugene, OR 180 $75,720
20 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 1,220 $75,440
National 174,890 $59,300

(#) a top 20 U.S metro population area

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics OES. Data extracted on December 5, 2020

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Mid-East States

With typically lower costs and extra benefits, Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans provide a most compelling value proposition in comparison to traditional Medicare coverage. Despite employing managed care protocols to control costs, the value appeal of MA plans has drawn more and more Medicare eligible seniors away from traditional Medicare.  In the span of just over four years, from October 2016 through January 2021, the market share of MA plans across the U.S. has grown from under 31% of Medicare eligible Americans to over 41%.

The increasing popularity of Medicare Advantage plans nationally is mirrored in the Mid-East section of the U.S., where MA plan enrollment has grown from a 30.0% share of the Medicare eligible market in October 2016 to just over 39% as of January 2021.  Here is a state-by-state look at how Medicare Advantage market share in the Mid-East states has grown from October 2016 to January 2021:


Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Mid-East States
Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Mid-East States

Medicare Eligible (1) MA Enrollment (1) % MA Market Share
State Jan-21 Oct-16 Jan-21 Oct-16 Jan-21 Oct-16
DC 94.8 90.5 22.7 7.1 23.9% 7.8%
DE 217.4 186.8 47.0 17.0 21.6% 9.1%
MD 1,064.5 964.8 149.7 53.3 14.1% 5.5%
NJ 1,644.6 1,532.2 558.7 254.3 34.0% 16.6%
NY 3,689.8 3,432.4 1,657.9 1,276.4 44.9% 37.2%
PA 2,788.1 2,598.2 1,278.5 1,031.3 45.9% 39.7%
Region 9,499.3 8,804.9 3,714.5 2,639.5 39.1% 30.0%
Total (2) 62,741.5 56,888.7 25,936.7 17,489.5 41.3% 30.7%

(1) in thousands; region totals may not equal sum of individual states due to rounding adjustments
(2) includes U.S. territories

Monday, February 22, 2021

20 Best Metro Markets for Nurse Practitioner Pay

In a commentary last December we reviewed Nurse Practitioner Pay in the Top 20 Metropolitan Markets.  As is the case with most healthcare professions, the major metropolitan areas in the U.S. are big centers for nurse practitioner employment.  However, it is in smaller metro markets, not the large ones, where nurse practitioners often times find better average compensation levels. This is readily evident in May 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reveals that only three of the 20 largest metro areas in the nation were among the 20 best metro markets for nurse practitioner pay:

Metropolitan Area # Employed Annual Mean Wages
1 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 150 $175,060
2 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 390 $160,110
3 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (#) 1,930 $157,150
4 Longview, WA 30 $150,520
5 Sumter, SC 50 $147,210
6 Redding, CA 70 $145,690
7 Salinas, CA 100 $145,060
8 Rochester, MN N/A $144,980
9 New Bedford, MA 100 $144,450
10 Modesto, CA 200 $143,530
11 Fairbanks, AK 40 $142,540
12 Riverside-San Bernardino (#) 1,540 $140,600
13 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 150 $138,350
14 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim (#) 4,090 $138,340
15 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 110 $137,750
16 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 950 $136,630
17 Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL 70 $136,240
18 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 150 $135,700
19 Santa Rosa, CA 190 $135,410
20 Bakersfield, CA 220 $135,130
National 200,600 $111,840

(#) a top 20 U.S metro population area

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics OES. Data extracted on December 5, 2020

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Private Sector Employee-Only Health Premium Costs in the Mountain States

The annual premium rate for employee-only (i.e. single premium) health insurance for Mountain states' private sector employers generally falls below national average rates. Wyoming private-employers, large and small, deal with single premium health insurance rates that typically run higher the national average rate for similar sized private employers.  Likewise, small employers (with fewer than 50 employees) in New Mexico and larger employers in Montana face higher than national average premium rates for employee-only health coverage.  But elsewhere in the region, annual premium rate rates for both small and large private employers typically run below national averages.  A detailed look at the data from the most recent Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (2019), which is administered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, reveals the following about private sector employee-only health premium costs in the Mountain states and nationally:

State (1) Small Firms (2) Large Firms Overall Avg.
AZ $5,924 $6,627 $6,517
CO $6,144 $6,634 $6,550
ID $5,962 $6,476 $6,346
MT $6,063 $7,235 $6,899
NV $5,464 $6,785 $6,586
NM $7,249 $6,583 $6,696
UT $5,067 $6,441 $6,253
WY $7,590 $7,054 $7,209
U.S. $6,920 $6,983 $6,972

(1) fewer than 50 employees
(2) 50 or more employees

Source:  Medical Expenditure Panel Survey  Table II.C.1 - Average total single premium (in dollars) per enrolled employee at private-sector establishments that offer health insurance by firm size and State: United States, 2019

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Southeast

With additional benefits and typically lower costs, Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans can be a great value compared to Original Medicare. Despite employing managed care protocols to control costs, more and more Medicare eligible seniors are gravitating to the better value MA plans offer.  In just over four years, from October 2016 through January 2021, the penetration of MA plans across the U.S. has grown from under 31% of Medicare eligible Americans to over 41%.

The growing popularity of MA plans nationally is mirrored in the twelve-state Southeast region of the U.S., where Medicare Advantage plan enrollment has grown from a 30.7% share of the Medicare eligible market in October 2016 to almost 43% as of January 2021.  Here is a state-by-state look at how Medicare Advantage market share in the Southeast has grown from October 2016 to January 2021:

Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Southeast
Medicare Advantage Market Share in the Southeast

Medicare Eligible (1) MA Enrollment (1) % MA Market Share
State Jan-21 Oct-16 Jan-21 Oct-16 Jan-21 Oct-16
AL 1,065.8 991.4 523.2 262.2 49.1% 26.5%
AR 648.0 609.0 211.1 125.3 32.6% 20.6%
FL 4,706.7 4,172.8 2,374.3 1715.1 50.4% 41.1%
GA 1,786.4 1,585.9 822.2 529.6 46.0% 33.4%
KY 946.2 882.7 392.3 240.1 41.5% 27.2%
LA 894.9 817.7 399.8 257.4 44.7% 31.5%
MS 613.3 574.3 168.6 89.8 27.5% 15.6%
NC 2,049.5 1,829.7 887.1 561.9 43.3% 30.7%
SC 1,112.4 977.5 383.6 230.3 34.5% 23.6%
TN 1,389.9 1,269.6 623.9 452.3 44.9% 35.6%
VA 1,557.9 1,404.1 427.9 204.3 27.5% 14.6%
WV 443.7 424.9 167.2 106.4 37.7% 25.0%
Region 17,214.7 15,539.5 7,381.4 4,774.8 42.9% 30.7%
Total (2) 62,741.5 56,888.7 25,936.7 17,489.5 41.3% 30.7%

(1) in thousands; region totals may not equal sum of individual states due to rounding adjustments
(2) includes U.S. territories

Friday, February 19, 2021

20 Best Metro Areas for Dental Hygienist Pay

As examined in Dental Hygienist Pay in the Top 20 Metropolitan Markets, the biggest U.S. metropolitan markets are major centers for dental hygienist employment. That fact notwithstanding, a deeper dive into U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reveals that smaller metro areas are where dental hygienists frequently find better pay, sometimes a whole lot better.  Indeed, a review of BLS data from May 2019 shows us that just four of the top 20 U.S. metropolitan areas were among the 20 best metro areas for dental hygienist pay:

Metropolitan Area # Employed Annual Mean Wages
1 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA N/A $140,150
2 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,880 $120,420
3 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (#) 4,170 $113,940
4 Santa Rosa, CA 550 $113,390
5 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA N/A $112,700
6 Fairbanks, AK 60 $111,830
7 Napa, CA 170 $110,520
8 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 340 $110,020
9 Anchorage, AK 330 $109,470
10 Madera, CA N/A $108,460
11 Bremerton-Silverdale, WA 240 $106,960
12 Modesto, CA 220 $106,520
13 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 780 $106,140
14 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (#) 1,860 $105,990
15 Chico, CA 190 $103,930
16 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim (#) 6,660 $103,350
17 Salinas, CA 320 $103,290
18 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA (#) 1,790 $101,270
19 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade 1,810 $101,030
20 Wenatchee, WA 80 $99,620
National 221,560 $77,230

(#) a top 20 U.S metro population area

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics OES. Data extracted on November 28, 2020