15 best places to retire where health care is good

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In our older years, we often find that health care matters more than ever. We are likely to need physicians, medical services, hospitals, clinics and other healthcare professionals, and it is best to have them close by for easy access.

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In a recent ranking of the best places for retirees, WalletHub evaluated each of 182 US cities on factors of health care, quality of life, affordability and activities for retirees, and scored them on 46 characteristics. The cities included the 150 most populous US cities, as well as at least two of the most populous cities in each state.

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Looking at only the cities that rank in the upper half of WalletHub’s Best Cities overall, we identified the cities that also scored best in terms of access and quality of health care.

The following are great places to retire where health care is especially good, too.

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15. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Calhoun Lake, MinneapolisRoger Silgender / Shutterstock.com

Minneapolis is ranked 12th out of 182 cities studied. It shines for its overall appeal to retirees and has earned 20th place in the rankings for health care.

Minneapolis – and its neighboring “twin” city, St. Paul – are surrounded by lakes. In fact, according to Minnesota Public Radio, there are 11,842 lakes in Minnesota. Therefore, retirees who love fishing, swimming, picnicking, and other types of water-based recreation are sure to enjoy Minneapolis.

14. Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, NebraskaMark Dahmke / Shutterstock.com

The state capital of Lincoln, Nebraska, earns WalletHub’s overall rank 59 and is No. 19 for health care.

The Lincoln Visitors and Convention Bureau’s Visitors Guide lists a range of musical performances, theatrical events, farmers’ markets, festivals, art galleries and exhibitions, sporting events, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

13. San Francisco
San Francisco, Californiaim_photo/shutterstock.com

The City by the Bay is a center of medical care, which also includes the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

Overall, San Francisco was ranked sixth by WalletHub in its ranking of the best retirement cities. This placed the city at number 18 for health care.

Living in San Francisco is expensive, but if you have the money, there are few places better suited for retirees given the mild climate, rich cultural life, abundant entertainment, and stunning natural surroundings.

12. Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North CarolinaSean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Durham comes in at 76th place overall in the survey, and WalletHub ranks it 17th for medical care.

North Carolina is attractive to retirees partly because the state does not tax Social Security retirement benefits.

Other types of retirement income are taxed at the state’s relatively low, flat income tax rate of 5.25%, according to SmartAsset.

11. Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo, North DakotaJacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Fargo, a relatively lesser-known city, earns a high overall rank, No. 26, for its attractiveness to retirees.

Good medical care plays a role in Fargo: WalletHub ranked Fargo 15th for medical care, out of 182 cities studied.

10. Overland Park, Kansaso
Overland Park KansasoJacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

If you enjoy farmers markets, you’ll adore Overland Park. Its market took top honors at the 14th Annual America’s Farmers Market Festival in 2022, receiving the most votes from shoppers in a 7,000-market national competition.

There’s a portion of the market due for Overland Park to shine in WalletHub’s survey. The city is ranked 41st overall on the list of best places to retire and 14th for health care and 41st for quality of life. Overland Park, with approximately 200,000 residents, is the second largest city in Kansas.

9. Nashua, New Hampshire
Nashua, New HampshireWangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Coming in at number 39 overall, Nashua is ranked 12th for access and quality of medical care by WalletHub.

Retirees will enjoy the small-town atmosphere of Nashua as well as its proximity – a 45-minute drive – to the culture and amenities of big city Boston.

8. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin, over Lake MononaJay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

Madison is a college town (University of Wisconsin-Madison) with a reputation for fun. Madison has topped a national survey for livability for two consecutive years.

It’s also a great place for the older generation, according to WalletHub, which ranks Madison No. 11 for health care and 22 for retirees.

7. Boston
Boston skyline summer day.Danica Chang / Shutterstock.com

Boston, with its hospitals and stellar medical services, ranks among the top 10 cities for healthcare in WalletHub’s survey.

WalletHub ranks Beantown 10th for health care, but the city only ranks 63rd for retirees.

Boston.com blames expensive housing and high utility rates and sales taxes for making the city difficult for retirees.

6. Rapid City, South Dakota
House in Rapid City, South DakotaGagliardiPhotography / Shutterstock.com

Rapid City received high regard from WalletHub for health care, earning a ranking of No. 9, and ranked 75th out of 182 cities surveyed for overall retired life.

Despite this, the city ranks the following in other specific categories: No. 170 for quality of life and No. 119 for activities for retirees. Housing costs aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great, according to WalletHub, which ranked Rapid City 96th for housing affordability.

5. Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, MarylandKhanIM / Shutterstock.com

Columbia, Maryland, located between Baltimore and Washington, DC, ranks 72nd overall in this survey of 182 US cities for the best and worst places to retire.

WalletHub ranks Colombia at number 8 for health care, number 21 for quality of life, number 108 for activities for retirees, and number 150 for affordability.

4. Wilmington, Delaware
Downtown Wilmington, DelawareJohn Billaus / Shutterstock.com

Wilmington notes all the right ones for retirees. WalletHub ranks it 8th overall for retirees and 7th in terms of healthcare. It ranks significantly lower at number 150 for quality of life, but it receives better scores for affordability (53) and activities (20).

TravelAwaits, which targets the 50+ travel set, recommends Delaware for its audience. There is no sales tax and low property tax in the state, the site says, doling out Wilmington for “amazing parks, a zoo, and many historic areas.”

3. Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are two of the many colleges and universities that make this Pennsylvania location a vibrant city. Pittsburgh is ranked 24th overall in WalletHub’s lineup.

Pittsburgh earns an impressive No. 6 rank for its health care. According to AARP, “The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s system is consistently ranked as one of the best health care systems in the nation.”

WalletHub gives Pittsburgh a relatively low score — No. 137 — for affordability. But others disagree. According to Zillow’s analysis, housing, a key component of a city’s affordability, is relatively affordable there.

Zillow’s Home Value Index lists the price of a “typical” Pittsburgh home in September 2022 as approximately $230,000; At the same time, Zillow listed the “typical” home value nationally at $358,000.

2. Missoula, Montana
Missoula, MontanaJohn Billaus / Shutterstock.com

Missoula checks a lot of boxes for retirees: Located on Interstate 90 in the mountainous west of Montana, it’s nestled amid stunning scenery and not far from Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

The University of Montana lends academic rigor and an element of culture, and there is plenty of music, art, and theatre. In addition, WalletHub ranks Missoula No. 4 for health care and 32nd overall for retirees.

But before you pack for Big Sky Country, remember that winter in the Rocky Mountains can be a challenge, and retirees can find it difficult to get around on foot or by vehicle in the colder months.

1. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls, South DakotaJacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Sioux Falls, ranked 39th overall, ranked No. 3 on WalletHub’s report Best Places for Retirees for Health Care.

According to a 2021 survey by United Van Lines, people have been moving to South Dakota recently. Mount Rushmore State was second in the nation (behind Vermont) for inbound moves.

In the state, 69% of the moves tracked by United Van Lines in 2021 were people migrating into the state rather than outside. This was part of a trend, the moving company says, of looking for places with a low density of migrants across the country.

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