Health Care Cost Transparency Board taking steps toward making health care more affordable

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Health Care Cost Transparency Board taking steps toward making health care more affordable

Each year, Washington residents are paying more and more for their health care. Rising health care prices also impact how health care plans (insurance carriers) pay providers. In 2020, the Health Care Cost Transparency Board (the board) became law, with the purpose of reducing health care cost growth and increasing price transparency.

As part of their work, the board is responsible for establishing a health care cost growth benchmark. This is a specific rate that insurance carriers and health care providers should try to stay under to make health care more affordable. The purpose of the benchmark is to:

  • Make health care costs more transparent to the public and policymakers.
  • Encourage insurance carriers and providers to keep costs at or below the benchmark.
  • Reduce the overall trend of health care cost growth in Washington State.

What’s the board been up to?

  1. In summer 2021, the board established the benchmark for Washington State:
Table 1: Washington State benchmark

Calendar year Cost growth benchmark values
2022 3.2%
2023 3.2%
2024 3.0%
2025 3.0%
2026 2.8%
  1. Earlier this week, the board notified insurance carriers about the benchmark and asked them to share “pre-benchmark” performance data for calendar years 2017, 2018, and 2019. This data will help the board determine how much Washington spends on health care and set the baseline for tracking spending growth in future years.
  2. Toward the end of this year, the board will publicly report spending trends in the state and by insurance market. The board will not publicly report insurance carrier or provider cost growth for the pre-benchmark period.

The work of Health Care Cost Transparency Board is an investment in our future and a way we can build a healthier Washington. The board looks forward to working with stakeholders and partners, including insurance carriers and providers, on making health care more affordable for the people of our state.

For more information on Washington’s health care cost benchmark, visit the Health Care Cost Transparency Board page.