Cost Boards' data call will set baseline for tracking WA's spending growth

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Cost Board’s data call will set baseline for tracking state's growth in spending

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

As part of their work, the board established a health care cost growth benchmark. The benchmark is a specific rate that carriers and providers will be held to and should try to stay under to make health care more affordable.

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%

The Health Care Authority (HCA), on behalf of the board, is calling on carriers to share “pre-benchmark” performance data for calendar years 2017, 2018, and 2019. In March and April of this year, carriers participated in a survey about total cost of care contracts, which helped identify the providers who will also be held to the benchmark.

What will the board do with the data?

Data collected this year (which is the board’s first data call) will help determine how much Washington spends on health care. This data will also set the baseline for tracking spending growth in future years, which will be measured against the benchmark.  

Toward the end of 2022, the board will report spending trends in the state. They will not report carrier or provider cost growth for the pre-benchmark period.

Data collected next year (for calendar year 2022) and beyond will be measured against the benchmark. The board will publicly report carrier and provider cost growth and Washington’s spending trends.

Learn more on our website.