Can a payer database lower health care costs?

Dunleavy says transparency will lower costs

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing the creation of a statewide database of insurance costs and payments, what’s known as an All-Payer Claims Database as a means of lowering the state’s health care costs.

In a bill submitted to the Alaska State Legislature Wednesday, Dunleavy proposed mandating insurers and providers disclose cost information, while data would be collected voluntarily from other entities like self-funded payers, such as AlaskaCare and health care trusts, according to a news release.

The APCD would be established within the Division of Insurance, the governor’s office said.

“Providing transparency in Alaska’s health care system is the first step towards stabilizing and reducing the cost of health care in Alaska,” Dunleavy said in the release.

Twenty states have already adopted APCDs, according to the governor’s office, including Washington and Oregon and the federal Transparency in Coverage Final Rule and No Surprises Act includes federal funding for establishing state APCDs.

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A 2018 study from the National Conference on State Legislatures said that it was unclear whether APCDs help states control costs. The study looked at 11 states that had implemented APCDs by 2010 but said it was too soon to tell if the databases helped states keep costs down.

“An APCD will allow us, for the first time, the ability to collect health care cost data from multiple payers across the state,” said Division of Insurance Director Lori Wing-Heir said. “he cost is detrimental to individuals and employers, regardless of how their health care is funded.”

The proposal was made at the suggestion of the Alaska Health Care Transformation Project, a group of health care providers, lawmakers and health care advocacy groups. Among the project’s participants are the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the Department of Health and Social Services.

In a news conference Wednesday, Senate Health and Social Service Committee Chair Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, said he was familiar with the concept and looked forward to digging into the governor’s bill.

“It’s not a new subject,” Wilson said. “It’s just one tool in the toolbox we can utilize to control costs”

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

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