While Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the country, it also has some of the worst health disparities in communities of color and in the American Indian community.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Vice president of community health and health equity Janelle Waldock.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Vice president of community health and health equity Janelle Waldock said there has been plenty of research that has shown those groups have a much-higher risk for such presentable diseases as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease—despite there being no biological reason for it to be the case.

However, she says there have been no previous studies concerning the cost of the health disparities, “So, we partnered up with a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota to do that analysis and our report found that these health inequities that we experience in our state are indeed very costly.”

She added that if the issue was addressed, it would translate to a savings to the state of, “$2.26 billion dollars every year. We lose 766 Minnesota lives because of health inequities. It definitely is an urgent problem that needs attention.”

BCBS is calling on local leaders to identify solutions that address the root cause of death and disease, because Waldock saids every community is different and each has its own health disparity challenges.