Since arthritis is so common — nearly one in four Americans have some form of arthritis — you might assume that you can find decent care and support for it almost anywhere in the country. But the reality, according to a new report from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), is quite different.

The 2018 Rheumatic Disease Report Card, the first report of its kind, graded all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on how livable they are for people with rheumatic diseases (which includes arthritis as well as other conditions that impact the joints, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and muscles).

To determine the ratings, ACR considered three key factors: access (is rheumatologic care widely available?); affordability (how expensive is it to live with a rheumatic disease?); and activity/lifestyle (how easy is it to be active with a rheumatic disease?).

Only one state, Maryland, got an overall grade of “A.”

New York, Vermont, Colorado, and Connecticut merited “Bs” but also made the top five list.

Most states earned a “B” or “C,” but two states (Alabama and Oklahoma) received a “D.”

South Carolina, Wyoming, and Mississippi managed to get “Cs,” but were also in the bottom five states.

What Makes Maryland So Special?

According to the report’s authors, Maryland scored the highest marks for the best state to live in with Arthritis because it has a very high concentration of rheumatologists and a low rate of residents without health insurance.

It also boasts many CDC-funded arthritis intervention programs, including those run by the YMCA and the National Recreation and Park Association. Part of these perks come thanks to legislation that’s made it easier and more affordable to live with a rheumatic disease in the state of Maryland.

The Best States to Live In with a Rheumatic Disease

In alphabetical order:

California
Colorado
Connecticut
Hawaii
Illinois
Maryland (The only state to get an “A”)
Minnesota
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
Vermont
Virginia
Wisconsin

The Worst States to Live In with a Rheumatic Disease

In alphabetical order:

Alabama (One of two states to get a “D”)
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Massachusetts
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma (One of two states to get a “D”)
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Washington
West Virginia
Wyoming

Download the full report to get more info about how your state fared in specific areas (access, affordability, and activity/lifestyle).

Want to Improve Access to Health Care in Your State?

The 50-State Network is our grassroots advocacy organization that gives patients like you a platform to effect change. We help share the patient’s perspective and show you how to advocate for yourself. We can help you to tell your story to legislators, the media, payers, employers, and government agencies. This can help improve your access to the treatments you need and help make them more affordable. Learn more and sign up here.