Castlight Health Releases U.S. Healthcare Affordability Index

Jun 3, 2015

Analysis Shows Many Cities Are Becoming Less Affordable for Employers and Employees Due to Rising Healthcare Costs

SAN FRANCISCO – June 3, 2015 – Castlight Health, Inc. (NYSE:CSLT), a leader in enterprise healthcare management (EHM), today announced the release of a new study designed to illustrate the relative affordability of U.S. regions for employers and their employees. The U.S. Healthcare Affordability Index examines the correlations between annual wage and healthcare cost changes year-over-year from 2013 to 2014 in 35 U.S. cities and metro regions. This year’s Index shows an alarming trend of rising healthcare costs across the country.

Castlight Health published this Affordability Index in an interactive map available here:

“The U.S. Healthcare Affordability Index indicates that the national outlook for healthcare affordability is poor in the majority of major cities and surrounding metro areas, and is proof that the status quo is simply not sustainable,” said Jennifer Schneider, MD, chief medical officer at Castlight Health. “The affordability of healthcare is not a regional, isolated, or rural vs. urban issue, it’s a national crisis, and this Index is a unique way of looking at the growing problem for individuals and employers alike.”

The Top 10 cities where healthcare costs grew faster than wage growth are:

  1. Charlotte, NC: Index Score*: 40.6
  2. Tulsa, OK: 40.9
  3. Richmond, VA: 41.5
  4. Providence, RI: 42.0
  5. Raleigh, NC: 42.2
  6. Oklahoma City, OK: 42.4
  7. Nashville, TN: 42.5
  8. Los Angeles, CA: 43.4
  9. Salt Lake City, UT: 43.9
  10. Phoenix, AZ: 45.1

*Castlight Health’s Affordability Index Score: Scores of 50 or lower indicate a reduction in affordability due to healthcare costs growth outstripping wage growth.

The rise in healthcare costs can be the result of a number of trends in the industry and/or in the patient population. In some instances, a provider may have increased their prices within the region or changed practice patterns for the number and types of services rendered. Additionally, the underlying population in a given region may have changed due to migration patterns or epidemic outbreaks. Wages in many of these areas may be stagnant or decreasing.

However, there are a few bright spots for improvements in healthcare affordability, particularly in some of the nation’s largest technology hubs: San Francisco, New York and Seattle. In many of these areas, the increase in wages may be outpacing increases in healthcare costs. Regional providers may be lowering health care costs by decreasing prices, improving guideline-concordant practice patterns, or leveraging technology for more efficient care delivery. Other factors for more affordable healthcare costs may be the use of onsite or retail clinics that are not billed through the claims systems. Additionally, residents in these cities may see the benefits of taking proactive and preventive measures to ensure their health.

Top 10 cities where wage growth outstripped healthcare cost growth are:

  1. Omaha, NE: Index Score**: 60.7
  2. Birmingham, AL: 59.6
  3. San Francisco, CA: 58.2
  4. Indianapolis, IN: 57.5
  5. Seattle, WA; 54.9
  6. Baltimore, MD: 52.9
  7. Kansas City, MO: 52.9
  8. Albany, NY: 52.6
  9. New York, NY: 52.1
  10. Minneapolis, MN: 51.4

**Castlight Health’s Affordability Index Score: Scores of 50 or higher indicate more affordable healthcare costs.


The U.S. Healthcare Affordability Index represents a normalized view of the ratio between the year-over-year increase (Q4 2012 – Q3 2013 vs. Q4 2013 – Q3 2014) in annual wages, as reported from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, vs. the change in healthcare costs in each region, as derived from an aggregation of existing Castlight-derived customer reporting. A value above 50.0 represents an area where wages are growing faster than healthcare costs, or healthcare costs are decreasing; a value below 50.0 represents an area where healthcare costs are growing faster than wages, or wages are decreasing.

About Castlight Health

Castlight Health, Inc. (NYSE:CSLT) is a leader in Enterprise Healthcare Management. We believe great healthcare builds great business, and U.S. enterprises can gain control over the $620 billion spent annually on healthcare, transforming a crippling cost into a strategic business advantage. Recognized as a top 2014 software platform by the HR Technology Conference & Exposition, the Castlight Enterprise Healthcare Cloud enables employers to understand and manage their healthcare investments while helping employees make the best possible healthcare decisions. Castlight is a great place to work, honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice award and recognized by Rock Health for Diversity in Leadership. For more information visit Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and Like us on Facebook. Source: Castlight Health.


Investor Contact:

Charles Butler

[email protected]


Media Contact:

Jim Rivas

[email protected]


Copyright 2015 Castlight Health, Inc. Castlight Health® is the registered trademark of Castlight Health, Inc. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Press Information

[email protected]