Healthcare Quality for Retirees in Florida

What Seniors Need to Know About the Quality of Medical Care in Florida Before Deciding to Retire There

According to Medicare, the quality of retiree healthcare in Florida provided by many of the state’s hospitals, is not what you may expect.

In fact, many hospitals in Florida earned just 1 star out of 5 on Medicare’s rating system.

Florida’s Average Medicare Hospital Rating place the state at 48th out of the 50 US States in quality of care.*

Does this make sense?

I’ve talked with 1000’s of people shopping for a home so they can retire to Florida, yet I can count on one hand how many times I was asked if there was a hospital near the home they were about to buy.

No one ever asked about the quality of health care, probably not realizing how different it can be from where they were moving from.

I guess every one just assumes that they will get top notch medical care everywhere in the US, but this article will show that’s just not the case.

I was a puzzled as to why almost none of these new retirees, who were getting to an age where health problems are more common, made a decision to burn a lot of cash to move 1000+ miles away without ever giving any serious thought to the kind of healthcare they would receive while living in Florida.

Most bought and moved into homes not even even knowing how far they now lived from the nearest emergency room, where it was or what the name of it was.

Being closer to a beach, theme park and restaurants and bars was what they most often asked about.

Do Most Florida Hospitals Have Below Average or Worst, Poor Ratings?

If newly retired seniors had done some research on the overall state of the healthcare system in Florida, they may have had second thoughts about retiring to the state.

To be fair, the poor quality of healthcare in the sunshine state is more widely reported in Florida, than elsewhere in the country.

An article from Florida Today:

An article from the Orlando Sentinel:

When doing research for books or website articles, I use healthcare ratings mainly from the US Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

I also use ratings from Medicare for lists having to do with retirement.

Both agencies collect and report extensive statistics on the quality of healthcare in Florida and all other US states.

Book on Florida

What is the quality of healthcare in Florida?

Florida’s overall health care quality rating has improved over the last few years from about 40th, to the 36th best in 2018.

This means the odds are that medical care quality in the state you are moving from, is better, than what you can expect to receive in Florida.

If you’ve suddenly start having bad chest pains, would you rather be rushed to a hospital emergency room with just a 1 star (poor quality) rating from Medicare, or a 5 star excellent rating?

Most retirees 65 years old or better, will qualify for and use Medicare as their primary health insurance coverage.

As a service for covered retirees, Medicare provides ratings for hospitals and other major healthcare facilities in the United States.

As you might expect, since the overall health care quality in Florida is lower than most other states, there are a lot of hospitals in Florida with below average ratings.

Many Florida hospitals have received Medicare ratings of just 1 star (poor care), yet people are moving to cities where these poorly rated hospitals are located, seeking paradise in retirement. Just don’t get sick?

Learning about the quality of retiree healthcare in Florida is just one of the many important factors wise babyboomers should learn about before deciding to move to Florida.


Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

  • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.


*Updated hospital ratings from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ( were made available in January 2020.

Please Note: All of the cities and towns on my Best Places to Retire List are serviced by Hospitals that had above average ratings as of the date the research was done.

6 thoughts on “Healthcare Quality for Retirees in Florida”

  1. According to some recent reports Florida ranks 48th from the bottom in healthcare. Be warned that to get in to see a doctor can take 6 months or longer and often the first visit will just amount to getting information & you’ll have to come back for a 2nd visit for the actual exam – if you’re on Mediare (or any other insurance for that matter) check the record for accuracy. Had a few doctors bill me after Medicare and then found out it was fully paid for – that is illegal. Doctors here are the best – far from it; a med. provider I was seeing kept telling me it was only a pulled muscle even though the pain kept on for months and mobility decreased – I had to demand an xray – again doc told me it looked like pulled muscle – realizing I could get all the reports from the x-ray facility on my own – that’s exactly what I did – it was not just a pulled muscle but instead herniated discs; went to orthopedic specialist in Central Florida – 2 visits and told I needed surgery but already wary of the poor healthcare I opted to go to a top notch facility in Boston with a top neurosurgeon who thought otherwise. Let me also say the ortho surgeon utilized a team that DID NOT TAKE MEDICARE and were also NOT a part of any insurance network but claimed they would work tirelessly to get the insurance/medicare to pay their claims. Be very, very careful in Florida. Make sure the physician accepts Medicare assignment (if you have Medicare); make sure the physician is in network and if you need surgery DEMAND all on the surgery team accept Medicare assignment or approved Medicare amounts and are in network. Would like to see legislation that prevents those providers who don’t accept either not be allowed to practice in a hospital that does. Finally, one thing to watch out for is the “surgical centers” – that supposedly will result in a lower cost to the patient. Some procedures SHOULD NOT BE PERFORMED at these centers because of possible complications and the center is not equipped to handle emergencies like a hospital. Ask questions and ask them again. If you’re not satisfied go somewhere else or out of state to a prominent, well known medical provider (often a research hospital that is keenly aware of all the “new” methods of treatment).

  2. I generally have to concur. I have lived in the state for five years now, and have never seen a doctor. It is not that I am without medical issues, it is just that the state seems to have a doctor shortage and is overly-reliant on Physician’s Assistants in lieu of Medical Doctors. The PAs have a place and function of course, and many of them are great, however their course of study is far different so one can conclude the level of expertise is concomitant. Overall, I find the pace of things like followup often lackadaisical as compared to my home state. I am not saying there aren’t great doctors in Florida, I am saying I have never met one!

  3. I’ve Been in Central Florida 6 years I’m an insulin Diabetic, for much of my life. Ive always had good care until moving here. My healthcare is severely compromised here. Lack of doctors that specialise in Diabetes. Having to wait months for Appts. Having to travel ridiculous distances for appts. Today I saw a Specialist that ended up being a nurse. She provided me nothing. No advice as to a change in treatment. Everything was up to me as to further treatment options for my stage of Diabetes. I had to drive 100 miles for the Appt. What I needed was advice on problems controlling my levels As I’m on alot of Insulin. This lackidasical health care here in Florida is a joke, and retirees need to consider speciality care when retiring to this oddball state. You just really can’t tell until you live here. Had i known it was so limited doctors and clinics wise, and so overwhelmed with patients. So much so that my care would suffer so. I would not have retired here. Its not easy now to pack up and move out of state. So I do the best I can.

  4. My brother wants to move to Florida. He has had a neurostimulator implanted for damage to his lumbar spine from a severe accident. He is now facing another planned neurostimulator for the damage and subsequent pain for the cervical spine. I would not want him to have these procedures in Florida. I do wonder, is Ron Stack’s book been updated since the current one on Amazon whick is dated 2013. Has the healthcare and physicians available in Florida improved since then?

    • Although Florida as a state may have a higher percentage of lower rated medical facilities, there some hospitals that are highly rated (by Medicare) in the state. What may matter most is how the specific facilities where someone is receiving care now, compares rating-wise to what is available where someone would be moving to in Florida. To find a Florida town that has both a high quality of life plus higher rated healthcare available, our “Best Places to Retire in Florida” list may be worth looking at.
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.


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