Health care cost trends | Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner

The trend of growth in health care costs has been well documented nationally (PDF, 586.05 KB). To get a state-specific look, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner contracted with Onpoint Health Data to analyze health care cost trends in Washington state, looking at both use of health care services and the price of those services. 

Onpoint used claims data from the Washington State All Payer Claims Database (WA-APCD) (www.wahealthcarecompare.com) to create a dashboard of trends in health care costs. The WA-APCD was established to improve transparency of health care costs and utilization and to support and inform health policy decisions. It contains claims from more than 50 commercial health care payers, as well as from the Medicaid and Medicare programs. This analysis only used commercial claims. 

The dashboard of health care costs includes analysis of claims for hospital inpatient, outpatient, health care professional and prescription drug spending, with additional analysis of types of inpatient services, mental health services and ambulance services. The claims data includes:

  • Individual, small group and large group health plans, including plans sold through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange as well as Public Employee Health Benefit plans
  • Enrollees between the age of 0 and 64
  • Claims paid in calendar years 2016-2019
  • Services received by Washington state residents
  • Total costs paid by both the health plan and consumer payments for the services
  • Claims with a first service date between January 1 and December 31 for 2016-2019
  • Claims for enrollees eligible for both pharmacy and medical coverage during 2016-2019
  • Enrollees in groups with the majority of their care paid a fee-for-service (non-capitated) basis

The results of the cost trend analysis are detailed in an interactive dashboard below where you can explore trends in utilization and price across various service categories from 2016 to 2019. Additional details on the methodology for the analysis are included in the “Methods” tab at the bottom of the dashboard.

Interactive dashboard of health care cost trends in Washington state (public.tableau.com)

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