Healthcare premiums up over 50% in Washington; state lawmakers weigh fines

Healthcare premiums have risen 52 percent in the period between 2010 and 2020 in Washington state, and lawmakers are now considering fines if further hikes exceed "reasonable justification," according to a March 27 HeraldNet report.

Fines could be imposed on insurance companies as well as providers if their fees also exceed such a threshold, the report said.

The Washington state legislature created the Health Care Cost Transparency Board in 2020 in an attempt to gain improved transparency from both insurers and providers on why healthcare spending is growing so quickly. Now, lawmakers are considering a bill to give the board authority to impose such fines beginning July 1, 2025.

But while the initial creation of the board was met with broad approval, this new proposed legislation faces stiff opposition, the report said. For example, many cash-strapped health systems say this isn't the time to impose more potential financial obligations.

More details on the proposed legislation can be found here.

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