PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island’s small businesses and working families need relief from increasing health care costs. In his budget proposal that was filed with the General Assembly last week, Governor Dan McKee is proposing the creation of a Health Spending Accountability and Transparency Program intended to significantly strengthen accountability for health care cost growth by health insurers and large health care providers.
This program, funded by $500,000 of State Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars and led by the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) in partnership with health care stakeholders, local businesses, and community advocates, will collect and analyze health care spending data and utilize that data to create meaningful actions to slow spending growth.
These actions will include publication of insurer and provider performance on health care cost growth relative to a predetermined benchmark target. Additionally, annual public meetings will be held on performance relative to the target and actions that will be developed in collaboration with health care entities to slow spending growth while improving health care access and quality.
“Reducing the costs of health care for small businesses and Rhode Island families is more important now than ever before,” Governor McKee said. “The Health Spending Accountability and Transparency Program is essential for finding innovative and effective solutions to making health care affordable for all Rhode Islanders. The Health Spending Accountability and Transparency Program is consistent with my Rhode Island 2030 priorities to support small businesses through more affordable premiums and less burdensome out-of-pocket health care costs for their employees and promoting conditions supportive of investments in public health and wellness.”
“Many of us share the same concern over rising healthcare costs – an issue obviously made worse by the pandemic,” Lt. Governor Sabina Matos said. “The Health Spending Accountability and Transparency Program will allow us the opportunity to look holistically at the system, analyze data, and tailor solutions to help Rhode Islanders access affordable and quality healthcare.”
“Rhode Island has made significant progress in containing health care costs in recent years, but despite these efforts the cost of health care is still a burden to many Rhode Island working families,” Health Insurance Commissioner Patrick Tigue said. “This program provides our state with a critical opportunity to find and address the key health care cost growth drivers and translate those findings into innovative solutions to lower health care costs for consumers. The effects of the pandemic and concurrent changes in our economy will place increasing upward pressure on health care costs for years to come. It is now more important than ever that we establish a program to hold health care entities accountable for cost growth to ensure that working families enjoy access to affordable, high-quality health care.”
The Health Spending Accountability and Transparency Program has three key goals that are designed to curb health care spending growth:
- Goal 1: Understand and create transparency around what drives cost growth.
- Goal 2: Create shared accountability for cost growth among insurers, providers, and government by measuring performance against a cost growth target tied to the rate of economic growth.
- Goal 3: Lessen the negative impact of rising health care costs on Rhode Island residents, businesses, and government.
OHIC, in accordance with its mission to improve health care access, affordability, and quality, will procure necessary support services to implement the program, including annual collection of health care spending data from insurers. The data analysis produced by the program will not only motivate the actions of private health care entities, but it will also provide actionable data for the executive branch and the General Assembly to make policies and pass legislation that addresses the causes of excessive health care spending growth. The program will serve a foundation on which to build a system of shared accountability for health care costs across government, insurers, and providers.